ASU's Frank Hall earns LEED Gold Certification

Article Published: Jul. 8, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
ASU's Frank Hall earns LEED Gold Certification

Frank Hall, a 203-bed residence hall at Appalachian State University has received, LEED gold certification, the second highest awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. The building's green and energy saving features include a 41-panel solar array that preheats water for use by the building's occupants.

Photo by Marie Freeman

Frank Hall, a 203-bed residence hall at Appalachian State University, has been awarded LEED gold certification based on criteria established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
Frank Hall is the university's first LEED certified building.

The residence hall was closed for a year while renovations incorporating green and energy saving features occurred. It reopened in fall 2009.

Designers for the renovation project were from the Asheville office of the architectural firm Calloway Johnson Moore and West.

"While many universities are constructing new residence halls and other buildings that incorporate sustainable or green features, the Frank Hall project demonstrates that existing buildings can be retrofitted to accomplish similar goals," said Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock.
Ashby Gale, a sophomore environmental science major from Asheville, lived in the renovated residence hall his freshman year and was a member of the building's living green residential learning community. "Receiving LEED gold certification is incredible and it's a national standard that shows the university's commitment to sustainability," he said.

Energy efficient renovations to the building include solar thermal panels installed on the building's roof to provide hot water for the building's occupants, low-flow shower and sink fixtures, and water-source heat pumps in each room versus use of the campus-wide steam system for heat.

Other features include energy efficient electric hand dryers, dual flush toilet valves that save up to half a gallon of water per flush, energy efficient T-8 and T-5 florescent lighting utilizing motion sensors in public areas, energy efficient windows, non-PVC resilient floor tile and recycled/reused lobby furniture.
"Renovations are always more complicated, but also more interesting, than new construction," said David Sweet, an architect with Appalachian's Office of Design and Construction who supervised the project. "I wasn't sure how the university's first attempt for LEED certification of a renovated building would turn out, but it turned out pretty well."

Sweet explained that when refitting an existing building, some items included in the LEED certification checklist aren't available, such as the use of specific exterior building materials. "There are some choices you don't have to get LEED points, and you have to work a bit harder to qualify for the certification," he said.

The project incorporated pervious concrete under exterior brick pavers to help control water runoff. Insulation was added to exterior walls. Whenever possible, building materials were purchased locally to reduce fuel consumption related to transportation, and materials made from recycled items were used when possible.

Each floor of the building has a recycling center where students recycle plastic, aluminum and paper products that are collected by the university's recycling program ASU Recycles. During the 2009-10 academic year, more than 4,000 pounds of recyclable material was collected from Frank Hall, including 3,210 pounds of plastic.

Additionally, the residence hall has covered bike racks and is located on an AppalCart route, the local transportation system, factors that also contributed to the building's LEED certification.

While Gale won't reside in Frank Hall this fall, he plans to continue to follow green- and energy-saving guidelines at his off-campus residence. "I want to be a part of the effort to conserve our natural resources and gain a better understanding of the world," he said.

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