OXFORD - Oxford College recently set the standard for environmentally friendly buildings at Emory University.
The college announced in late April that its new $28.5 million residence hall, East Village, has been awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold rating, the first for new constructions at Emory University. East Village was completed in the fall and will house 350 Oxford College students.
The gold LEED certification, which is one step under the highest platinum rating, means that the college followed such environmentally friendly steps as using low-pollution lighting, low-flow plumbing, recyclable materials and energy-efficient products when constructing the building.
Planners initially thought the building would only attain a silver LEED certification, but the U.S. Green Building Council deemed it worthy of a higher rating.
"We have eagerly awaited the final LEED certification for East Village," said Stephen Bowen, dean of Oxford College, in a press release. "We are extremely pleased and proud that this beautiful and innovative residence hall has been awarded a gold-level ranking."
In 2005, Emory's Goizueta Business School received a gold-level LEED-EB, which is awarded to existing buildings, and Emory University as a whole is aiming for more LEED-certified construction on other buildings.
"This is an emblem of the value that Emory University and Oxford College place upon sustainable practices," Bowen said.
One of the new residence hall's highlights is its stormwater system, which collects rainwater from the roof and surrounding streets in decorative basins to mix with a special soil mixture to go back into the ground. Water from the main lobby's roof fills into a basin that empties into a circular pool in the central wooded courtyard. Then it is piped into an underground cistern, which holds 20,000 gallons to irrigate surrounding grounds during dry periods, according to the press release.
Some of its other features include lighting to minimize light pollution; the use of natural daylight; landscape that requires little irrigation; low-flow plumbing fixtures and dual-flush water closets that reduce potable water consumption; HVAC systems with energy recovery; certified wood; carbon dioxide sensors that measure outdoor air delivery; indoor air quality management; and low pollutant-emitting building materials, among other features.