Colgate’s New Residence Halls Approach Sustainable Completion

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Some of Colgate’s newest students will soon make their home in the University’s newest buildings.

Construction of the two 106-bed facilities — featuring seminar rooms, study spaces, residential life offices, and social lounges — began in May 2017 and will be completed this summer. Here’s a highlight of these impressive structures that bring together living and learning: concerted, sustainable construction practices and planning.

Throughout construction, approximately 75 percent of related waste was either recycled or salvaged. Maggie Dunn ’19, a geography major who works as a LEED Green Associate in the Office of Sustainability, says that initiatives like these help promote sustainability moving forward.

“It is so essential that the Residential Halls are engaged in sustainable practices before students live there because the buildings will help to create a launching point off of which students and faculty can facilitate additional sustainable practices,” says Dunn.

While the exteriors of the buildings boast locally sourced stone, the interiors incorporate low-flow faucets to curb water usage; smart light sensors and windows, which can help lower carbon emissions by leveling heating and cool systems in each room; and adjustable thermostats. Future residents can also look forward to amenities like bike racks and participation in student-led sustainability programming like Recyclemania and 13 Days of Green.

The landscape surrounding the buildings also aids in Colgate’s sustainability efforts. This spring, 250 trees from 15 different species will be planted around the residence halls to promote biodiversity while decreasing stormwater runoff and the need for irrigation.

These sustainable approaches, which put the buildings on track to achieve a LEED Gold rating, promote Colgate’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality this year.

Sustainability, says Environmental Studies and Sustainability Office Program Coordinator Pamela Gramlich, must be supported throughout the lifecycle of the building.

“Buildings on our campus have served our students for hundreds of years and will continue to serve our students for hundreds more,” says Gramlich. “Taking the time to integrate sustainability into our buildings at the start will help our institution prevent future emissions and unnecessary energy spending and better serve our students as a living lab.”