Green Dorm Database


Berea College
February 20, 2009, 3:53 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Berea College has a sustainable village on campus!

Berea College has a sustainable village on campus for student families.

Berea College’s “green dorm” is much more than a dorm; instead, it’s an entire on-campus “village”. The Berea, Kentucy college’s Ecovillage was designed to provide housing for student families (much like Stanford’s Escondido Village) and work opportunities for environmentally-minded students. The Ecovillage includes 50 apartments, a Sustainability Demonstration house, wastewater treatment facilities and a childcare facility. Goals for the Ecovillage include 75% reductions in energy use, water use, and composting 50% of waste (as well as wastewater treatment and an enthusiastic recycling program).

The Ecovillage’s high performance standards are met using a variety of sustainable design elements, including passive solar heating, PV panels, rooftop rainwater capture for irrigation and wind-powered electrical generators. The apartments were constructed using Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPS), low-E windows, heat exchangers, CFLs, solar light tubes, ground based heat pumps, clothes lines (instead of dryers), low-flow showers, faucets and toilets. The Sustainability and Environmental Studies (SENS) demonstration house has a composting toilet, 8″ thick, straw-bale walls, and recycled countertop/cabinet materials. Once again, Berea depends upon participation as well as design to meet its sustainability goals; regular classes on resource conservation are offered to the students and families of the Ecovillage.

Berea’s Ecovillage

duPont Fund on the Ecovillage

SENS House at Berea



Arizona State University
February 13, 2009, 3:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Hassayampa Academic Village is LEED silver certified

Hassayampa Academic Village is LEED silver certified

Arizona State University’s “green dorm” is one of many green buildings on campus; since 2005, ASU has required LEED certification for all new university-owned or operated construction projects (caveat: “to the fullest extent practicable”). Four years later, ASU is home to 9 LEED buildings (including one platinum and three gold), which serve as everything from lab space to the medical school to student housing. The LEED buildings are only one component of ASU’s larger sustainability efforts, with initiatives for renewable energy (like a solar-powered parking structure), mandated heating/cooling standards, water conservation through drought-resistant landscaping, and composting/recycling programs.

ASU’s Hassayampa Academic Village, LEED silver certified and operating since 2006, is an all-freshman complex that houses 1,900 students in suite-style rooms, with relatively traditional amenities like communal kitchens and study areas. Their buildings include reflective roofs and paving materials, low-flow faucets and toilets, occupancy sensors, windows shades, drought-resistant landscaping and large-scale recycling of construction waste.


Hassayampa Academic Village “Sustainability Point of Pride”

ASU Campus Sustainability Efforts



Tufts University
February 10, 2009, 7:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Sophia Gordon Hall makes solar thermal and PV work, even in Massachusetts!

Sophia Gordon Hall makes solar thermal and PV work, even in Massachusetts!

Since 2006, Tufts University in Medford, MA has been home to Sophia Gordon Hall, a LEED Gold dormitory that houses 126 students (all seniors). The set of connected four-story buildings is composed primarily of suites, which include bathrooms and kitchens, showing once again that green buildings and preferable room arrangements are not mutually exclusive. Like Drew’s green dorm, Tufts puts a burden on students to not only live in the environmentally friendly building, but to also learn from it and to pass those sustainable lifestyle habits on to others.

Sophia Gordon Hall achieves 30% reductions in both energy and water use by employing low-flow faucets, dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals, solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, low VOC materials, reflective white roofing, bamboo flooring, low-E windows, and for the students’ benefit, real-time energy monitoring, much like Stanford’s own Y2E2. Another feature somewhat questionably included in Sophia Gordon’s description is green electricity, purchased through “Green-E” certified wind power. Tufts believes their renewable energy certificates are for “an amount equivalent to the electricity needs of Sophia Gordon Hall” for two years. While commendable, it is unclear whether such renewable energy credits or carbon offsets can really be considered a component of a given building, “green” or otherwise.

Tufts on Sophia Gordon Hall (very detailed building information available)

Newswise on “Green Dorm”



Drew University
February 9, 2009, 7:53 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

New Jersey’s Drew University recently opened its first new residence hall in more than thirty years – and decided to make it “green”.  Drew prides itself on the new McLendon Hall, the first “green dorm” to be built in Jersey, which houses 159 students on six floors. Though the project budget was $15 million, Drew’s Director of Special Projects suggests that only about $1 million was specifically for green technologies, implying that the initial cost of a green dormitory versus a standard one might be less than generally assumed. The building includes not only housing, but also meeting space, and eventually a small convenience store, setting it up to be a central part of the campus community.

Drew University's green dorm has a geothermal heat pump!

Drew University's green dorm has a geothermal heat pump!

Another interesting aspect of Drew’s building is their expectation that students take an active role in making McLendon a “green” environment; recycling bins and water-saving showers notwithstanding, officials make it clear that these students are expected to set an example for the rest of campus. As the Director of Special Projects notes, “When you’re looking at a green building, you’re not just looking at how it’s built, but operationally how can you minimize the impact to the environment.” While our primary focus for Stanford’s Green Dorm has been the building and laboratory, it’s worth considering how we might also encourage innovations in operational sustainability.

McLendon Hall has many of the standard “green buidling” features, including recycled, reflective roofing materials, furniture from recycled materials, drought-resistant landscaping, low-flow showerheads, CFLs, and automatically dimming lights, but the most interesting feature by far is the geothermal heat pump the new residence hall employs. Though it was a larger up-front cost, geothermal heat pumps can reduce heating energy demand by around 30%, with large paybacks over time in energy (and environmental) savings. On a smaller scale, Drew’s choice of linseed floor tiles is also notable, as they do not require strong chemicals for cleaning.

Drew’s New Residence Details (and floorplans!)

The Daily Record on McLendon Hall

NJ.com on Drew’s Green Dorm



Plymouth State University
January 31, 2009, 4:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Langdon Woods in photogenic twilight.

Langdon Woods in photogenic twilight.

New Hampshire’s Plymouth State University has “a history of championing initiatives, buildings, programs and curriculum that are environmentally conscience (sic),” but their most recent accomplishment is the 2007 Langdon Woods Residential Complex, the first dormitory in the state to earn a LEED-gold certification.The Residential Complex houses 347 students in total, in two buildings that offer a variety of room structures (from doubles with bathrooms to 4-person suites). In addition to the dorm rooms themselves, Langdon Woods also has lounges, a fitness room, a student kitchen and a cafe. The scale and variety seen in the Langdon Woods Complex is a good sign that LEED-level quality can be achieved without sacrificing comfort, privacy or personal space in “green” college dormitories.

Features of the Langdon Woods Residential Complex include motion-sensitive lighting, heaters that turn off when windows are open, passive solar elements, locally-produced furniture, low-flow faucets, waterless urinals, and heat from a co-generation plant. Also worth mentioning are the size and budget of the project; at 100,000 square feet and a $29 million construction budget, Langdon Woods was a major investment, but comes with savings of $230,000 in energy costs and 1.4 million gallons of water a year.

NH Public Radio Article

Langdon Woods Main Page

Langdon Woods Press Release



College of the Atlantic
January 30, 2009, 2:48 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
CoA's green buildings have insulation made from recycled newspapers!

CoA's green buildings have insulation made from recycled newspapers!

The College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, has an unwavering commitment to sustainability; Human Ecology is the only major offered, and deals specifically with human-environment interactions. In keeping with their ecological academic focus, COA’s campus is effectively net-zero (though some of this is achieved through offsets). The College has had a “green dorm”, however, only since August 2008.

The COA “green dorm” is not, in fact, a single dorm building. Instead, it’s structured as a residence village, housing 51 students in a cluster of three duplex-style buildings. Construction on each includes 12″ of internal insulation, radiant floor heating or hydronic wall-mounted heaters, composting toilets, and systems for recapturing thermal energy from shower water. In addition, the heating system uses wood pellets, an arguably renewable source that has the benefit, in Maine, of being a local industry. Although no specific information is available, articles note that the buildings use sustainably harvested and/or recycled materials wherever possible.

COA’s Green Residence Village

More on COA’s Residence Village

COA Village Fact Sheet




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