Highlands University Residence Hall First in State to Achieve LEED Silver Certification
The New Mexico Highlands University residence hall that opened fall semester 2009 is the first in the state to achieve LEED Silver certification, a high-level measure of green building practices and sustainability.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
“I think it’s extremely important for us to institute a great variety of programs that will move us towards making our campus even more green,” said Highlands University President Jim Fries. “The LEED Silver certification for the residence hall shows we’re making significant progress in this regard.”
Fries said all new Highlands University construction and remodels for existing campus building are being done to LEED standards to reduce environmental impact and save energy.
As part of the LEED certification process, the Green Building Certification Institute evaluated the university’s new student housing, finding that the building achieved 50 percent in indoor water savings, 25 percent in energy savings, and recycled 93 percent of construction waste.
Highlands’ state-of-the-art residence hall houses 276 students in 89 apartment-style suites that feature private bedrooms, a kitchen, and bathrooms. Most of the units are reserved for incoming freshman with some space also reserved for upperclassman.
Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, an award-winning architectural design firm with one of its offices in Albuquerque, designed the three-story residence hall. The external design incorporates elements of the Spanish colonial style common on campus.
The 100,000-square-foot residence hall was completed within budget and on time for fall semester 2009. Franken Construction of Las Vegas was the contractor for the project.
The residence hall LEED silver certification is just one example of Highlands University green initiatives over the last several years. Some others include:
– Cisterns were installed to capture rainwater for the drought-tolerant landscaping at the new residence hall, Rodgers Administration, and the Felix Martinez building.
-The university has completed a conversion from large boilers to small package energy-efficient boilers to heat all main campus buildings. The new boilers also use less water and no chemicals.
-The university purchased a new hybrid vehicle fleet.
-Bike racks were installed around campus to encourage more bicycling and less driving.