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New Loy Center houses pursuing LEED for Homes certification

The new houses in the Loy Center will be among the most environmentally friendly residence facilities for college students in North Carolina when they open for the fall semester, and Elon University leaders are now in the process of applying for LEED for Homes certification through the U.S. Green Building Council with a target level of Silver.

The LEED program – short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – is an internationally recognized standard for sustainable design and construction. The LEED for Homes program launched in 2008 specifically for single and multi family homes.

Should the Loy Center houses (N, O/P, Q, R and S) receive LEED certification, Elon would be the only college or university in North Carolina to have six LEED for Homes certified structures on its campus. The O/P building, a duplex, would receive two certifications – one for each side.

Shana Plasters, director of Greek Life, said she is excited about the completion of the new homes and what they will mean for students.

“Greek students belong to values based organizations. They are more than just social,” Plasters said. “The new houses will allow Greek students to demonstrate their commitment to partnering and bettering their community through sustainability.”

The new houses are about 36 percent more energy efficient than a conventional home. Designed to meet Energy Star for Homes requirements, including designing and selecting energy efficient systems, the houses contain a high-performance thermal envelope to prevent unwanted air transfer. Energy Star appliances were also installed in the houses, including the washing machines.

During the design and construction, the project team focused on durability planning and management in order to ensure the quality and sustainability of the houses.

The projects are also water efficient. Landscaping is minimal and drought tolerant, and low-flow plumbing fixtures are used throughout the houses, including dual-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads and faucets.

Efficient use of materials and resources was key to the LEED for Homes process. Waste during construction was minimized through careful planning, and about 90 percent of waste generated on the site was diverted from the landfill through recycling or reuse. Regional materials, such as framing material and cement, were also used.

Workers used low-emitting materials in the houses, including paints and adhesives, to minimize occupant exposure to volatile organic compounds.

The air units were covered to limit dust and contaminant build-up in the system. A third-party inspector ensured proper ventilation, and high-efficiency filters in the HVAC systems maintain good air quality.

Part of the educational aspect of the LEED for Homes certification is to encourage residents to live sustainably. A Sustainable Living Guide will be provided to residents in the new Loy Center Houses to aid in reducing their environmental impact.

For more information about the sustainable features of the new Loy Center houses, visit the Sustainability website.

Eric Townsend,
5/9/2011 2:56 PM