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Three Commons Houses Receive LEED-Gold Certification

Posted by on Monday, March 16, 2009 in Green Building, News.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt University continues to go for the gold with its latest LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification of three new residence halls. This brings the total to seven LEED-certified buildings at The Commons, the university’s new campus for first-year students.

A project team of Nashville-based building, design and construction companies worked closely to develop a unique design strategy that considers sustainable policy making and future on-campus growth. The team was led by Street Dixon Rick Architecture, PLC, and Vanderbilt’s Campus Planning and Construction department and also included:

  • American Constructors,
  • Barge Cauthen Associates, Inc.,
  • EMC Structural Engineers,
  • SSR and
  • SSRCx, the commissioning subsidiary of Smith Seckman Reid, Inc.

“The fact that we exceeded our initial sustainability goals speaks volumes to the tremendous level of commitment on the part of the whole team, first and foremost including Vanderbilt,” said Baird Dixon, AIA, LEED-AP, principal with Street Dixon Rick Architecture, PLC.  “We had a lot of fun researching and exploring new products and materials,” said Dixon. “Because these are student-centered buildings, we tried to incorporate subtle, educational components in terms of the materials we chose. For example, in the main entrance lobby, we used a terrazzo floor product that uses recycled glass in place of the normal marble chips.”

“The terrazzo has beautiful color, is sustainable and will last 80 years. The students also enjoy telling everyone the floor is made out of old beer bottles,” Dixon said.

LEED is the U.S. Green Building Council’s leading-edge system for designing and constructing a sustainable, energy-efficient and high-performing building. LEED-Gold certification ranks higher than Silver and standard certification. Combined, the residence halls are predicted to reduce energy use by 15 percent.

The three residence halls designed by Street Dixon Rick Architecture – Stambaugh, Hank Ingram and Murray Houses – total more than 175,000-square-feet and cost approximately $40 million. Two additional residence halls, also designed by Street Dixon Rick Architecture, whose firm provided the Master Plan for The Commons, were already certified at the LEED-Silver level in 2008. These are Crawford and Sutherland Houses.

As a part of its LEED-Gold certification, Vanderbilt achieved Innovation in Design points for:

  • free ride to work program with Nashville’s Metro Transit Authority
  • on-campus biodiesel vehicles
  • green housekeeping program
  • utilization of 26.4 percent recycled content in construction
  • diversion of over 74 percent of demolition and construction waste from landfills
  • approximately 53 percent of building materials were purchased regionally

Gillette House and The Commons Center previously attained LEED certification. Gillette earned LEED-Silver and The Commons Center earned LEED-Gold.

Additional Quotes:

“A building owner gets lasting value from a network of participants who work together to determine environmentally responsible practices for building a facility, and later become actual stakeholders in the facility’s operation and occupancy.” Tony Fort, Vanderbilt Director of Architecture and Construction

“It forces a very useful community fabric to get woven in the process that raises everyone’s awareness of the sustainable operational practices that will positively affect the occupants and surrounding environment for many years to come.” Andrea George, Vanderbilt Director of Sustainability

“With a cohesive team effort, we achieved success in a variety of areas including the amount of construction waste that we were able to recycle. The team diverted more than 2,600 tons of waste from landfills, leaving us just a fraction of a point away from receiving the maximum credit toward the LEED-Gold certification. By utilizing this team approach, we were able to exceed our goals with minimal added cost and effort.” Joe Braden, Project Manager and LEED-AP for American Constructors Inc.

“Because this was a highly collaborative building, design and construction process, we were able to achieve even greater success than originally planned. As we all work to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into our daily lives, the value of creating a sustainable living-learning community will have a lasting impact for generations to come.”

Eric Sheffer, LEED Facilitation Project Manager for SSRCx


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