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Green living: Wake Forest’s new South Residence Hall models sustainability


August 17, 2010

Winston-Salem, N.C. — With solar panels on the roof to heat water and touch screens in the hallways for monitoring energy usage, Wake Forest University’s new residence hall has the latest in green technology.

First-year students will move into South Residence Hall Aug. 19. A dedication ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at 2 p.m. Aug. 16. The four-level, 67,000-square-foot building on the south side of campus will house 201 students. Double rooms average about 220 square feet.

“This is going to help students understand what it means to live in a sustainable environment,” said Donna McGalliard, dean of residence life and housing. “Sustainability is not just a fad or passing trend. We want to be good stewards and teach students to be good stewards of the environment.”

The building reflects the university’s commitment to sustainability across campus. Wake Forest worked with Hanbury, Evans, Wright, & Vlattas Architects and Frank L. Blum Construction on the new building.

South Residence Hall was designed and built to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Design) certification—silver level standards.

Natural light is an essential part of the design, said Ryan Swanson, university architect. Double-paned aluminum windows match the style of older buildings on campus, but their high-efficiency and low maintenance provide an important energy-saving element. The residence hall also has energy-efficient appliances in kitchens on each floor, high-efficiency washers in the laundry room, and thermostats that can be adjusted in individual rooms.

Following are more detailed descriptions of some of South Residence Hall’s green features:

Solar Hot Water Collection

Roof mounted panels contain liquid-filled tubes. Solar energy heats the tubes, providing a sustainable supply of hot water in tanks located in the attic. This stored hot water provides preheated tap water for showers and sinks – greatly reducing the amount of natural gas needed to produce hot water.

Natural Light

Just over 86 percent of all occupied space in South Residence Hall receives 25 foot-candles or more of daylight illuminations conducive to reading and study. The correlative effects of natural daylight illumination to improved learning provide a win-win as increased daylight also reduces electrical consumption.

Recycling: Construction Activity/Recycling Centers

The initial goal of recycling 50 percent of all construction material was easily achieved. The building contractor diverted nearly 80 percent of all waste generated during construction from the landfill. Recycling centers for student use are conveniently located on each floor as part of the University’s ongoing commitment to reduce landfill volume.

Dual Flush Toilets

Not every toilet use needs a “full flush”. Dual flush toilets allow the user to release the minimum amount of water needed. “Up” for liquid waste expends 30 percent less water than “Down” for solid waste. Using dual flush conserves fresh water supply and reduces the amount of water sent to the treatment plant.

Low-Flow Shower Heads

“More with less” — Low-flow shower heads increase the effectiveness of the same volume of water — much like placing your thumb over the end of a garden hose when trying to wash the mud from your car. Low-flow showerheads conserve water supply and the energy to heat it, and lessen treatment plant volumes.

Building Monitoring

Through convenient, technologically savvy, and user-friendly screens, residents can visualize consumption of energy, water and solar resources in their new home away from home.

Water: Bio-Retention Cells

Bio-retention cells reduce the quantity of rain water leaving the site during a storm by slowly releasing the water over time. Natural vegetation in these cells increases the quality of water by removing silt and solids discharged into downstream flows.

Locally Sourced Materials

The South Residence Hall project exceeded the goal of locally sourcing 20 percent of construction material (by value) within 500 miles of the building site. Common materials sourced locally included brick, limestone, roof slate, hollow core floor slabs, structural and reinforcing steel.

Press Contacts:

Cheryl Walker
(336) 758-5237


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