South Residence Halls Receive LEED Certifications
Five residence hall buildings at Penn State University Park earned LEED certification, signifying their status as green buildings. One of the residence halls, Chace, was newly constructed and opened in fall 2013. The rest were renovated for the first time in 55 years from spring 2012 until winter 2014. The designs by the appointed firm, Clark Nexsen, included energy-efficient systems. As well as making critical structural improvements, the firm went a step further to ensure the building upgrades took into account environmental factors.
LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used verification system for green buildings. A building that is LEED-certified is one that is resource efficient, conserves water and energy, and reduces greenhouse gas emission.
“Penn State requires all new and renovated facilities be LEED certified,” says Chad Henning, assistant director of Housing. “It is a visual and practical demonstration of our commitment to the University’s strategic plan related to the foundation of ensuring a sustainable future and the thematic priority of stewarding our planet’s resources.”
LEED certifications are designated by levels, based on a point system that evaluates various sustainability issues. The Penn State buildings ranked in both the Silver and Certified levels: Cooper/Hoyt and Ewing/Cross fell in the Silver category, while Chace, Haller/Lyons, and Hibbs/Stephens were all Certified.
“Confirmation of our project achieving LEED certification is just the icing on the cake of such a significantly collaborative project,” says Henning.
New constructions and renovations will continue to follow the LEED standard of environmentally friendly practices in the future.