Posted by University News Service
May 7, 2013
The Department of Housing and Residential Life at Texas State University has announced that its two newest residence halls have received Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
The Gold certification, a first for the Texas State University System, recognizes the department’s dedication to sustainability, energy efficiency, water conservation and air quality.
According to the USGBC, LEED is a “voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven program that provides third-party verification of green buildings.” An organization’s participation “demonstrates leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.” LEED offers a framework for establishing efficient and sustainable solutions in the design and maintenance of new construction.
In collaboration with the Office of Facilities Planning at Texas State, the Housing department’s goals were to construct a student residential complex with minimal impact on the environment and to provide a safe, clean home for 612 students. Of the materials used, more than 30 percent contain recycled content and more than 35 percent are from regional sources. In addition, 77 percent of construction waste was recycled.
In an effort to keep residents healthy, the department used low emitting materials during construction reducing the volatile off-gassing chemicals (VOCs) found in many new buildings. Walk-off mats were also installed at exterior doors to control the dust and dander being carried into the buildings. In addition, light occupancy sensors are used in lounges and study rooms to decrease unnecessary electricity usage.
Current residents enjoy their new home while sharing in water and energy conservation efforts. A 40,000 gallon tank is situated in the courtyard and collects condensation from the air-conditioning system, as well as from rain run-off. The collected water is used to irrigate the almost three acres of property that surrounds the complex, which has been landscaped with native Texas plant materials.
In addition, community-style bathrooms are designed to curb water consumption. Showerheads use only 1.8 gallons of water per minute and faucets use 0.5 gallons of water per minute. Toilets use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
The two residence halls - Gaillardia and Chautauqua - are the first in a series of residential communities to be constructed at Texas State. The West Campus Housing Complex is now under construction. Those two new residential communities are scheduled to open for the 2014-15 academic year. The department plans to continue utilizing green-building practices in all new projects and hopes these halls will inspire residents to be better stewards of the environment.