Union South
LEED Gold Certified

      Union South

Project Information

Total Cost: $94.8 Million

Area: 276,664 GSF

Project Summary: The Wisconsin Union demolished the existing Union South and constructed the new South Campus Union to meet the evolving needs of today's students. Primary components of this new facility include new meeting space, recreational facilities and food service venues. Parking and guest rooms were included in this project as well.


Click to take an online sustainability tour of Union South.

 Birdseye view of the building


Union South received LEED Gold Certification in 2012 and marked the fourth building on the UW-Madison campus to achieve LEED certification. 


      There are 7,853 square feet of vegetated green roofs on the building that help reduce the heat island effect along with capturing excess stormwater. Water used in the feature shown to the right is capturing rainwater from the roof to be stored in an underground cistern until used.


                       Water feature

The picture on the left shows the water feature which uses the rainwater from the roofs. In total, water saving and reduction strategies in the project saved 32% of water used compared to a baseline building.


      Fireplace near Prairie Fire coffee shop


Ashlar Sandstone encompassing the fireplace above, was quarried from Mosinee, WI and is one of the regional materials used in the project. 37% of Union South's building materials were extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of Madison. Specifically 26% from Wisconsin alone.


Union South performs 36% better than a similar “baseline” building. This was accomplished through a variety of design strategies including vertical sun louvers, daylighting and occupancy sensors.

Sun Garden 
 Compost bin

Pre-consumer and post -consumer waste is collected and composted, producing an estimated 1 ton of waste per week.

Post-consumer salvaged materials were used throughout the project such as wood salvaged from Wisconsin barns in Union South's Varsity Hall to recycled Kohl Center floor in Union South's Lower Sett Rec space.

 Varsity Hall
 Plants surrounding the building

The roof has 48,284 square feet of high albedo roof surface, which reflects heat instead of absorbing it helps reduce the heat island effect.

Drought resistant landscaping above, was used in the project to decrease irrigation and maintenance. Fescue, a grass that requires no watering and only needs to be mowed twice a year, was used for the lawn.  

 Plants surrounding the building
 The Sett

85% of the new wood content is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood – which means the wood comes from a forest being managed in an environmentally responsible manner.

      Materials such as low-VOC adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings were selected to reduce the quantity of indoor air pollutants.

The Info Lounge

 Backside of the building