The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded UALR’s West Hall a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification of Gold.
The building was designed by Witsell Evans Rasco architects and TME Inc. engineers and constructed by Baldwin and Shell builders. April Ambrose, LEED AP BD+C sustainability consultant, was the senior project manager.
West Hall is the second UALR building to receive the LEED Gold certification. In April 2011, UALR’s Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT) building became the the first LEED Gold certified building in the University of Arkansas System. Two other recently completed UALR buildings – the Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences building and the Student Services Center – are awaiting certification from the Green Building Council.
David Millay, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Management, said the extra costs of green features in the construction of the 104,000 square foot building are miniscule compared to the long-term efficiency savings in energy, water, and other utilities.
“The energy efficient features and green construction practices add less than 1 percent to the cost of construction,” Millay said. “Payback of that additional cost will usually occur within the first year or two of building occupancy.”
The features in the building that helped earn the LEED Gold rating include:
- Roof constructed with highly reflective materials able to reduce the effects of “heat islands.”
- Landscaping that combines native and adapted vegetation with efficient irrigation, reducing potable water usage for irrigation by more than 52 percent.
- Low-flow bathroom reducing water usage by 47 percent.
- Heating, air conditioning, lighting, and other systems designed to maximize energy performance, resulting in a 32 percent reduction in energy.
- Highly energy-efficient, dual-paned windows optimize energy efficiency.
- Lighting systems using a variety of high-efficient components, including fluorescent bulbs, occupancy sensors, and automatic daylight controls.
- HVAC system that uses non-HCFC Puron refrigerant, reducing the creation of ozone-harming gases.
The contractors who built the residence hall also added to the LEED Gold score by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills during construction by recycling of plastics, metals, paper, cardboard, and glass.
“Over 88 percent of the total waste generated during construction of West Hall was diverted away from landfills, allowing for the recovery of recyclable and reusable materials,” Millay said. “And when new materials were used for construction, 10 percent of them were made in part with recycled content.”
He said 28 percent of the construction materials used in the facility were extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the site, further reducing the carbon footprint.
UALR opened West Hall last summer. It is located in a cluster of residence halls on the east side of campus and houses academic scholarship students including members of the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps.
The new hall was built to promote camaraderie. The pod-style residences include two sides – one for men and one for women. On each floor, rooms housing two students each surround a common area, which includes a full kitchen with stainless steel appliances, a family-style dining room table, flat-screen televisions, and laundry and baths.