Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sustainable Design Creates Popular Student Housing

LEED certified buildings in California has growing appeal

Green architecture is a growing field.
Green housing at the school is a significant draw for new students.
A project that once gave administrators pause has turned into a thriving student housing complex that unites the community in a sustainable environment. While decision makers at the University of California, Riverside weren’t sure they were ready to commit to a fully environmentally friendly project, the success of Glen Mor 2 – a LEED Gold-seeking project nestled among the mountains – has become an example of the benefits of sustainable design and now has the full support of university staff. The complex, which especially attracts older students and transfer students, integrates the campus with the community and turned an underused piece of land into a beautiful central destination.

Administrators’ changing opinions reflect the changing perspective of property owners across the nation, who increasingly recognize green building as a way to not only protect the environment but also to improve their projects and increase success. Green architecture is in growing demand due to benefits like those realized on the UC Riverside campus.

Innovations at Glen Mor 2 serve as examples of how sustainable design creates striking aesthetics: thoughtfully placed windows, for example, not only keep rooms cool but also increase natural light and contribute to unique facades for each building. Since green architects focus on integrating features from surrounding environments, the complex makes use of an overgrown arroyo as a scenic and accessible open space. Bridges and pathways encourage a lifestyle where walking is the primary mode of transportation, reducing fuel use and facilitating serendipitous community interaction.

While administrators hesitated to support the project, viewing LEED certification requirements as costly and time consuming, the reality of sustainable design proved to be an advantage rather than a setback. The complex’s low energy costs, beautiful aesthetics, and popularity among students make it an asset to the university and serve as an example for property owners across the nation. As projects like this become commonplace, LEED certification is only going to increase in demand; green architects and contractors will see an increase in their business.

Sustainable design is a growing field in California and across the U.S.! Grow your business by getting LEED Accredited to take advantage of the growing market for energy efficient buildings.