WPI’s East Hall Recognized as a Green 'Teaching Tool'
The construction process and sustainable features of WPI's newest residence hall were lauded for providing educational opportunities.
EducationDesignShowcase.com has awarded Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) East Hall the "Judge’s Choice" honor in its "Building as a Teaching Tool" category. East Hall's design-and-construction process and sustainable features were recognized as "educational opportunities" for the campus community. As a nominee in the "Building as a Teaching Tool" category, East Hall was judged according to the mindfulness of construction materials, energy, and environment; its design as a learning laboratory; student and community involvement; integration into the coursework; and innovation and creativeness.
The 232-bed, apartment-style residence hall was designed by Boston-based architect Cannon Design and constructed by Gilbane Building Co. Since opening its doors in August 2008, East Hall has provided real, hands-on opportunities to educate the community about sustainable design and the environment. As part of the building's "teaching tool" features, East Hall's project team engaged WPI's Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) faculty and students in planning and discussions throughout the construction process. Furthermore, the building's "living green roof" and stormwater monitoring/testing station also serve as teaching tools by allowing for CEE faculty and students to study stormwater quality and flow rate, and to conduct green roof technology research. The roof – the first of its kind in the city of Worcester – features 5,000-square-feet of sedum, chives, and other plants, whose seedlings were planted by a group of students, faculty, and university administrators. The plant beds are set atop a base of 12,985 square feet of EnergyStar roofing material.
Earlier this year, East Hall was awarded LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a national organization that certifies buildings that are green and sustainable, and protect the environment. Its LEED certification is second to Bartlett Center, the university's admissions and financial aid building, which opened in 2006 and was the first university building in Worcester to attain the distinctive certification. In addition, the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) New England Chapter's named East Hall the 2009 Project of the Year Award, winning in the "Building Construction Under $50 Million" category. The building project team also took home a Green Building of America Award from Construction Communications, publisher of Real Estate & Construction Review.