High Grades In Sustainability

Colleges and universities have been at the forefront of green building and LEED-certified institutional construction for years. As the need to replace

Colleges and universities have been at the forefront of green building and LEED-certified institutional construction for years. As the need to replace less energy-efficient student housing grows, schools are making the move toward getting the most for their investment in new construction, with design creativity and greater efficiency in both construction and building operation. Two universities in regions that experience a wide range of climate change in a given year have allowed precast/prestressed producers to set the table for projects like the one North Central College’s campus.


Officials at the military college Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., announced the opening of South Hall, a newly constructed residence hall built to house 283 students. Expected to receive Gold-level LEED certification and completed $1 million under budget, the dormitory opened three weeks ahead of schedule.

The $25.2 million project was funded through loans, and the cost savings are a result of a unique arrangement in which Norwich University served as construction manager. In this role we were able to negotiate contracts with reputable, experienced contractors and make them part of the design team. This helped to drastically reduce the number of change orders, and resulted in us running into very few problems during construction, says Dave Magida, the university’s chief administrative officer.

J.P. Carrara & Sons was the precast supplier, shipping 69,000 sq. ft. (or 606 pieces) of 6-in.-thick _ 8∫-ft. Dynaspan hollow core plank, with more than 4,000 embedded weld plates for connection to structural steel framing and exterior brick relieving angle support. The maximum span length is 22 ft. Casting for the Dynaspan was done using a slipform system on three, 500-ft.-long beds. In total, 88 truck loads drove the nearly 90 miles between Carrara’s Middlebury plant to the Norwich campus.

Other concrete suppliers included Ziter Masonry and SD Ireland, which supplied the ready mixed.

Highlights of the new dorm Û now the largest building on campus Û include:

  • 100 percent of the building’s energy use will be offset by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits;
  • The building contains recycled content, locally manufactured and low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) materials and products;
  • All bedroom windows have sensors that shut off the heating system when windows have been left open; and,
  • Efficient water-use strategies throughout the building will reduce water usage by more than 30 percent for a building of this size and type.

With the expectation that we will receive Gold LEED certification Û our first at Norwich University Û this building will serve as a benchmark for all future projects, Magida said.


As part of its ongoing, campuswide sustainability initiative Û led by the recently formed Office of Energy and Utilities Management Û Catholic University in Washington, D.C., opened in January Opus Hall, a 300-bed, LEED-compliant residence hall, featuring water conservation, Energy Star appliances, and state-of-the-art insulation.

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Gate Precast supplied 70,000 sq. ft. of insulated brick inlay architectural precast with limestone finish accents. The accelerated erection process took one crew 40 days to complete. Gate Director of Architectural Systems Jim Lewis, LEED AP, will discuss the project at the 2009 Design-Build Conference and Expo (note page 11).