University of Tampa's newest residence hall is solid gold as an eco-friendly, green building.
The U.S. Green Building Council
recently issued a LEED Gold certification for West Kennedy Hall, which opened in August 2013. It is the university's third certification from the council, which is recognized nationally as the standard setter for environmentally sound construction practices.
The university's Science Annex is also a LEED Gold certified building, and the Dickey Health and Wellness Center is LEED Silver.
West Kennedy Hall is an 11-story residence hall on Kennedy Boulevard that houses more than 520 students.
"I believe West Kennedy successfully both reflects the latest in University campus amenities and achieves innovative ways to conserve natural resources and lessen the impact on the environment," says UT President Ronald Vaughn.
The university wants buildings that are comfortable and user-friendly for people, says Taylor Ralph, president of REAL Building Consultants
, which works with UT on its LEED certification.
"But efficiency also is part of it," Ralph says. "That means that by not wasting money on energy costs the university can spend it in other areas. There is no sense in wasting energy. It makes fiscal sense."
The design, construction and operations of West Kennedy Hall includes the following green efficiencies:
- Solar panels on the roof to heat water used by students
- Low-flow shower heads and toilets that reduce water use by 38 percent, or more than 2.3 million gallons per year
- Improved energy efficiency with a chilled water system, low-energy lighting and maximized natural daylight in rooms
- Improved indoor air quality with environmentally-friendly paints, adhesives, sealants and other construction materials
- Recycling of more than 78 percent of construction waste
- Recycling of rainwater stored in a storm water vault for irrigation of a portion of the campus
- Landscaping with Florida-native and drought-tolerant plants
- Green cleaning program to maintain the building with healthy cleaning practices and products
- Reducing reliance on automobiles because the residence hall is within walking distance of bus stops, parks, the Tampa Riverwalk and restaurants
Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Ron Vaughn, University of Tampa