Green building wins gold

South Hall, completed in August 2010, has been awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. With solar panels on the roof to heat water and touch screens in the hallways for monitoring energy usage, the residence hall reflects the University’s commitment to sustainability across campus.  The four-level, 67,000-square-foot building on the south side of campus houses 201 students.

“Wake Forest is extremely excited and proud to have received this award,” said Jim Alty, associate vice president for Facilities and Campus Services.  “It recognizes our commitment to sustainable development in striving to build facilities that minimize harm to the environment, while also creating a comfortable indoor experience for the occupants.”

Touch screen for monitoring energy usage in South Hall

In South Hall, natural light is an essential part of the design, said Ryan Swanson, university architect.  Double-paned aluminum windows match the style of older buildings on campus, but their high efficiency and low maintenance provide an important energy-saving element.

The residence hall also has energy-efficient appliances in kitchens on each floor, high-efficiency washers in the laundry room, and thermostats that can be adjusted in individual rooms. Recycling centers for student use are conveniently located on each floor. Dual-flush toilets and low-flow showerheads conserve fresh water and reduce the amount of water sent to the treatment plant.

Nearly 80 percent of all waste generated during construction did not go to landfills. The South Residence Hall project exceeded the goal of procuring 20 percent of construction material (by value) from local sources within 500 miles of the building site. Materials sourced locally included brick, limestone, roof slate, hollow core floor slabs, and structural and reinforcing steel.

Solar panels on the roof of South Hall

The national LEED designation standard was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.  Five key areas are measured and must be met before a building can achieve certification:  sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

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