WPI’s East Hall Awarded Gold LEED Certification

Residence Hall Boasts Worcester's First 'Living Green' Roof
Media Contact
July 02, 2009

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WORCESTER, Mass. – Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) announced today that its environmentally conscious residence hall, East Hall, has been 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. East Hall, which features the city of Worcester's first "living green" roof, is WPI's second building to achieve LEED certification.

LEED is USGBC's rating system that awards points for satisfying green building criteria. Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of green building certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within each LEED category: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.

"East Hall is WPI's first sustainable residence hall on campus, and receiving Gold LEED certification for this building is a thrilling accomplishment," said WPI Dean of Students Philip Clay. "Since opening its doors in August 2008, East Hall has served as a testament to the university's commitment to sustainability, and has provided tremendous opportunities to educate the community about sustainable design." 

East Hall was designed by Boston-based architect Cannon Design and constructed by Gilbane Building Co. The residence hall embodies WPI's mission to be sustainable; in 2007, WPI's Board of Trustees endorsed a policy calling for all future buildings on campus to be environmentally friendly and designed to meet LEED certification. East Hall's 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.

East Hall's design not only called for sourcing local and recycled materials to stimulate the economy, but it also allowed for increasing energy- and water-use efficiency; the 232-bed, apartment-style residence hall uses 32 percent less water than other similarly sized residence halls, and 30 percent less energy -- benefits for both WPI and the environment. The residence hall also boasts the city of Worcester's first "living green roof," with approximately 5,000 square feet of sedum, chives, and other plants set atop a base of 12,985 square feet of EnergyStar roofing.  In addition to its environmental duties, the green roof is used in academic research by faculty members and students in WPI's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who study stormwater quality and flow rate. Among its numerous other "green" features, the large number of windows in East Hall maximizes the amount of natural light, reducing the need for artificial light and minimizing electricity use during the daylight hours. East Hall also includes dedicated interior storage for bikes to encourage students to pedal instead of drive, and the 189-space parking garage features 12 parking spaces reserved for hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles.

"The Gold LEED certification for WPI's East Hall demonstrates the project team's tremendous green building leadership," said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC's president, CEO and founding chair. "The urgency of USGBC's mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and WPI's East Hall serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish."

WPI trustee and civil engineering alumna Judith Nitsch, PE, LEED AP, president of Boston-based Nitsch Engineering Inc., has been a driving force behind green design and sustainable construction on WPI's campus. In addition to leading efforts to educate the campus community about sustainability's importance, Nitsch, along with her husband, Tony Magliozzi, donated a portion of East Hall's green roof as a gift to the university.

"Clearly, the sustainability aspects of the green roof are very important to me, and we're absolutely delighted to be the donors of a portion of the roof," Nitsch said. "To achieve Gold certification on WPI's second LEED project is a phenomenal tribute to all who were involved in the day-to-day discussions and decisions – WPI community members, Cannon Design, and Gilbane."

Earlier this year, 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.

"Ordinarily, I'd say I'm ‘tickled pink' with the announcement of the Gold LEED certification, but in this case, I'd say I'm tickled ‘green and gold,'" said Alfredo DiMauro, WPI's assistant vice president for facilities. "The Gold honor recognizes WPI's commitment to making a difference in the world."

About the U.S. Green Building Council

The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since UGSBC's founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 17,000 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED  green building rating systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry's popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, and a network of 78 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

About LEED 

The LEED  (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ is a feature-oriented rating system that awards buildings points for satisfying specified green building criteria. The six major environmental categories of review include: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation and Design. Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of LEED green building certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within each LEED category. LEED can be applied to all building types including new construction, commercial interiors, core & shell developments, existing buildings, homes, neighborhood developments, schools and retail facilities. LEED for Healthcare is under development.

Incentives for LEED are available at the state and local level, and LEED has also been adopted nationwide by federal agencies, state and local governments, and interested private companies. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org/LEED.