Going green has become a mantra at more college campuses as a way to cut energy costs, meet students’ ecological demands, and educate users about new sustainability trends. Consider the University of Wisconsin’s Whitewater campus and its five-story Starin Hall, designed by Cannon Design’s Chicago office, which includes energy meters to track consumption in individual rooms, and regionally and locally sourced building materials. At the University of Arizona in Tucson, where desert sun and periodic heavy rainfalls are concerns, the new Sixth Street Residence Halls feature solar panels, underground cisterns to retain water, and drought-tolerant native species. Now, New York is seeing the trend, which is on display at two new residence halls that opened last August on a four-acre parcel at Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx. Planned to house 450 residents, the six-story Campbell Hall and seven-story Salice and Conley Halls (built as one dorm) were designed by Watertown, Mass.–based Sasaki Architects to complement the campus’ existing Gothic-style vernacular and salt-and-pepper palette. The buildings are sheathed in recycled slate at the base and gray/metallic-colored brick on the upper levels. When possible, materials were locally sourced, says Vinicius Gorgati, project architect and firm principal.
To lower energy consumption, conserve water, and meet other green criteria, the Fordham dorms, each 83,500 square feet, feature efficient mechanical systems, recycled steel, Forest Stewardship Council–certified wood, low-VOC finishes, low-E glazing, Energy Star equipment, and reflective white roofs. Sasaki landscape architect Ricardo Dumont designed underground storage chambers to collect rainwater to release as needed. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $555,000 in incentives to curb the buildings’ energy costs.
A year after the halls’ opening, the university has exceeded New York state’s energy code by 29 percent and reduced vehicular traffic by building on a former parking lot, says Marco Valera, Fordham’s vice president for facilities management. The project has also been certified LEED Gold. Because Fordham wanted the halls to keep students on campus yet provide a transition to independent living, rooms were designed as furnished apartments, rather than typical dorms, for four to six students. Besides bedrooms, each includes a shared living room, bathroom, and kitchen. The lower levels feature indoor and outdoor multipurpose rooms with smart technology, laundries, and a café.
Though the initial cost to go LEED Gold added a “slight premium” to the project, Gorgati says, “the end result is worthwhile. These are buildings meant to last and contribute meaningful additions to an already wonderful campus.”