The greenway abutting Charger Village.
Michael Mercier | UAH
Charger Village, a residence hall on the campus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), has achieved LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Certification through LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, requires third-party verification that a building satisfies green criteria under areas of water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and sustainable sites.
"The benefits of being LEED certified are numerous – buildings are more water- and energy-efficient, they cost less to operate, and they are healthier and safer for the occupants," says Larrell Hughes, UAH's campus architect. "Additionally, this certification is a demonstration of our commitment to reducing our environmental impact on our community and our world."
While all new campus buildings are built to LEED Silver standard, Charger Village is the first building to receive the official certification. That's in large part thanks to the efforts of Hughes and the UAH Department of Facilities and Operations, in cooperation with Charger Village's design firm, Nola|Van Peursem Architects.
"The building has energy efficient lighting systems, low-flow showers, sinks, and toilets that reduce water demand by 30%, HVAC equipment that minimizes emission of compounds contributing to ozone depletion, and light-colored pavers that reduce heat-island effect," says Hughes of Charger Village's sustainable features.
Furthermore, he continues, 90% of construction waste was diverted from landfills, more than 20% of the building material was recycled (steel, concrete, precast panels, brick, metal roofing, sheetrock, acoustical ceilings, wood doors, windows, and carpeting), and 1/3 of materials were obtained from local manufacturers.
Those same standards of sustainability were also applied to the first phase of UAH's campus greenway, Central Core Greenway. The pedestrian-friendly walkway, says Hughes, features large heirloom trees, native vegetation, a variable planting palette, a water-efficient irrigation/fertigation system, and LED lights with motion sensor and timers.
And since its completion last summer, it has gone on to win both the 2013 Award of Merit for excellence of construction from Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. and the 2014 Green U Special Project Award for sustainability from the Huntsville Botanical Garden.
For Hughes, though, the real achievement doesn't come in the form of awards or certifications – as much as he is honored that his campus-wide improvements have been recognized. It comes in the knowledge that, with every passing year, the UAH campus is becoming a safer, greener, more sustainable place for future generations of students.