LEED BD+C: New Construction v3 - LEED 2009
UALR West Hall
LEED Gold 2012
One of the key successes on this project has been getting more students on campus and into a green built environment. On-campus living has been shown to increase student success in the classroom.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), a premier public university in central Arkansas, continues to showcase its dedication to sustainability and student success with its Gold-certified West Hall. Since 2012, West Hall has provided eco-friendly housing for UALR’s expanding student population. In order to work towards its Fast Forward Strategic Plan and increase student success, UALR recently adopted a policy that will require first-time freshman enrolled full time to live in campus residential housing beginning with the fall 2013 academic semester. West Hall will help meet the subsequent demand for additional housing on campus.
West Hall houses 350 freshmen, primarily academic scholarship students and members of the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps. The dormitory also houses a full-time resident director and a team of resident assistants. The 104,000 square foot facility is composed of two six-story, pod-style residence halls—one for men and one for women—connected by a two-story lobby. On each floor, double bedrooms surround a common area, which includes a full kitchen, a family-style dining room table, study rooms, flat-screen televisions, laundry facilities, and restrooms. The complex is located in a cluster of residence halls on the east side of campus.
Working to create an exceptional living/learning facility, the design team utilized input from students, campus administrators, and national college housing expert. UALR administrators made green building a priority for the university because of its cost-saving potential. David Millay, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management, explained the logic of green building on campus: “The energy efficient features and green construction practices add less than 1% to the cost of construction. Payback of that additional cost will usually occur within the first year or two of building occupancy.”
Carefully-constructed sustainable features allow the facility to save energy and water. The extremely efficient HVAC and lighting systems have reduced energy usage by 32%. The HVAC system made each dorm room a separate zone, which has increased thermal comfort and saved energy. Landscaping that combines native and adapted vegetation with efficient irrigation has reduced potable water usage on site by more than 52%. Low-flow bathroom fixtures have reduced water usage by 47%.
Since UALR is an institute of high education, it was important for West Hall to have an educational component. In the lobby, there are displays with real-time updates on water and energy savings. With these displays, residents view the tangible benefits of green building on a daily basis. Residents also participate in a school-wide recycling program, live on campus, and walk to class. In this way, students are able to integrate sustainable lifestyle practices into their daily routine.
This project profile was published in collaboration with the USGBC Arkansas Chapter