Aerial view of UWEC Sonnentag CenterCENTERS (a B&D company) is leading the operations of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Sonnentag Center scheduled to open in 2024.  The 172,000 GSF facility will be the largest indoor event venue in northwestern Wisconsin.  The multi-use facility will include a 5,000-seat event center/four court-gymnasium; 120-yard indoor turf fieldhouse; fitness and wellness center; UW-Eau Claire athletics offices; and the Mayo Clinic Health System Diagnostic Imaging and Sports Medicine Center. 

The University is passionate about sustainability as evidenced by its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and by the implementation of carbon-free and carbon-reduced systems in all existing and new buildings.  The Sonnentag Center is envisioned as a beacon of sustainable design with all components benefiting from forward-thinking construction and utility concepts. The project features will contribute to a more sustainable and climate-conscious university and community and will inspire students to get involved in sustainability through academic initiatives. Aligning with UWEC’s mission, CENTERS is incorporating sustainability into its pre-opening planning and future operating plan for the facility.   

 The Sonnentag Center is striving for Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, all of which is undergoing verification, including the following features: 

  1. Carbon Footprint: The project will be fully electric, meaning no fossil fuels will be burned on site for heating, significantly reducing overall operational carbon emissions. 
  2. Renewable Energy: Under a contract with Xcel Energy, the project will procure green power from a local community solar array, offsetting 100% of the annual energy use of the project. 
  3. Water Efficiency: A 32% indoor water use reduction from the calculated baseline was achieved with the installation of highly efficient water closets, urinals, faucets, and sinks to maximize water use reduction. Energy Star rated washing machines and low-flow pre-rinse spray valves were also used on the project to reduce the amount of water pulled from municipal sources. 
  4. Energy Efficiency:  LED lighting was used throughout the facility and special emphasis was placed on an exterior lighting design that was appropriate for student safety without ‘over lighting’ the building exterior and surrounding site.
  5. WELL Health Safety Rating: Pursuing WELL Health Safety Rating focused on operational policies, maintenance protocols, and emergency plans to improve the health and well-being of facility occupants.  The WELL HSR consists of features such as ongoing monitoring of air and water quality, managing mold and moisture, and cleaning and sanitization practices.

Aligning with university’s strategic plan, the CENTERS’ led Sonnentag operation will prioritize the sustainable operation by including:

  • Green vehicle parking
  • Bicycle and pedestrian friendly site  
  • Upcycled FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) 
  • Experiential education by using the project as a teaching tool for both UWEC students and the greater community 
  • A dashboard in the building lobby that will provide real-time data for energy and water use and highlight other sustainability features 
  • Composting throughout the building


To continue the discussion about sustainability for your campus center operation, contact Kim Martin, Vice President of Business Development.