Warren Wilson College’s EcoDorm achieves LEED Platinum recertificationOctober 22, 2015
Warren Wilson College’s EcoDorm has received a 5-year Platinum recertification under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Building Operations and Maintenance system by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). In 2009, EcoDorm was the first building on a college campus to achieve LEED Platinum certification in the Existing Buildings (EB) category. Platinum certification is the highest rating a building can receive under the LEED system.
Joe Bace, architect and director of facilities and campus operations, said, “It is no easy feat to maintain the initial LEED Platinum certification rating after five years. My hat is off to the Design and Construction Crew for all their work on this effort as well as to Samsel Architects, which originally designed EcoDorm and was contracted to head up the LEED administration process.”
Opened in 2003, EcoDorm is a two-story residence hall that houses 36 students each semester. Warren Wilson College students participated in the planning, research and design of the building, which is known as a pioneering model of energy-efficient building designs and renewable-energy technologies. EcoDorm features a 10,000-gallon salvaged train tanker car, which holds rainwater to flush toilets and to irrigate the permaculture landscape. In addition, the building is home to solar hot water and photovoltaic panels, high-efficiency boilers and radiant floor heating.
According to USGBC, LEED is “a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.” Of the 87 credit points submitted to USGBC for the EcoDorm’s LEED application, 81 were awarded to Warren Wilson College.
“It has been a two-year process with a great variety of players working to make this happen,” said Jason Lackey, design and construction department supervisor. “The hard work paid off.”
EcoDorm’s recertification of its LEED Platinum status comes on the heels of Warren Wilson College’s commitment to divesting its nearly $55 million endowment from fossil fuels over the next five years. The move aligns the College’s investments with its core values and separates the endowment from corporations listed among the Carbon Underground 200, which contains the world’s top coal, oil and gas companies. Warren Wilson’s Board of Trustees further adopted a Responsible Investment Policy that includes environmental, social and corporate governance considerations and management strategies. Moreover, no new endowment funds will be invested in fossil fuel companies.