Washington University in St. Louis’ Village East student apartment building has received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The LEED rating system is a third-party certification program and a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of environmentally friendly buildings.
The Village East is the first LEED-certified residence hall and third LEED-certified building on the university’s Danforth Campus. The Danforth University Center earned a LEED Gold rating in 2008, and the Earth & Planetary Sciences Building was LEED-certified in 2005.
“This is another major step in the university’s drive to become an national sustainability leader,” said Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor for administration.
The Village East, which opened in August 2008, contains 152 beds in four-bedroom apartments for upperclass students. Several study, program and meeting spaces also are located on its three floors.
“I am so pleased that Village East is our first green residential facility for undergraduates,” said Justin X. Carroll, associate vice chancellor for students and dean of students. “Providing state-of-the-art facilities that are more energy-efficient and more cost-effective has been a priority for our student housing redevelopment program.
“This beautiful facility now enables us to more adequately meet the increasing demand by juniors and seniors for apartment-style accommodations on the Danforth Campus,” Carroll said.
LEED-certified construction is part of the university’s strategy to reduce its environmental impact, manage its financial resources and improve indoor environments.
The university will construct all buildings started in 2008 or later to meet at least LEED Silver qualifications.
In order to become LEED certified, a project must earn a certain number of “points,” which are awarded by the USGBC for following green practices such as using locally and regionally extracted raw materials; optimizing energy efficiency; and allowing for significant amounts of daylight in a large percentage of the building’s areas.
A building’s level of certification is based on the number of points a building earns. Platinum is the highest, followed by Gold, Silver and simply LEED-certified.
The Village East received points for following the previously mentioned criteria and incorporating other green features, including the use of materials with recycled content and low-emitting paints, carpets and composite wood; and stormwater management, including an on-site rain garden.
Two recently completed WUSTL buildings — Harry and Susan Seigle Hall on the Danforth Campus and the Genome Sequencing Data Center (Silver) at the School of Medicine — are awaiting LEED certification.
WUSTL is in the design or construction phase of three projects that will seek LEED Silver or Gold certification: Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Hall (Gold) and Phase 1 of the South 40 project (Silver) on the Danforth Campus and the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University (Silver) at the School of Medicine.