University of Colorado Earns Eighteenth LEED Certification on Campus

BOULDER, Colo. — The University of Colorado announced August 24 that newly renovated residence hall, Baker Hall, has received LEED Platinum certification, making it one of 18 buildings on the University of Colorado campus that have been LEED-certified. The 15-month renovation was finished in August 2014.

This is the first renovation to Baker Hall in over 75 years. The building is the second oldest residence hall on campus and was designed by Charles Klauder who designed 15 buildings on campus from 1920 to 1938, including Norlin Library and Sewall Residence Hall.

During the renovation, they meshed the old design with new sustainable features. According to Thomas Goodhew, assistant Director of Planning, the team used student input and creative architectural design to combine the two. They saved ornate iron light fixtures, fireplace facades, the old detailed woodwork and the roof tiles.

The university said that the age of the building and its location in the heart of campus did come with challenges. In the center of campus, there was very little space to process storm water. The solution was to pave the nearby Baker drive with a pervious paving system instead of asphalt, which allowed rainwater to flow between the pavers and clean through layers of gravel. They were also able to save the 80-year-old Ludowici clay tiles on the existing roof after sending samples to a lab that tested its solar reflective index (SRI), and determining the tiles to be in the desired LEED range.

The 115,000-square-foot building holds 256 student rooms. Baker Hall includes a Hall Director apartment, a faculty apartment, four classrooms and 10 offices. The plan also included a new full-time front office and a kitchen for student use. The building’s south side, which was originally a loading dock in now an entrance opening to the common spaces, the classrooms, offices, and kitchen. The north side remains as it was originally built, keeping traditional features.

A large change can be seen in the students’ rooms. The rooms are equipped with “smart” heating and cooling units that turn off when windows are opened. They include vacancy sensors that shut off lights when the room is empty, and the power outlets can be turned off to prevent energy consumption. The $41.5 million renovation included the installation of low-flow plumbing and energy-efficient lighting.

One feature the university is proud of is the new, state-of-the-art washing machines installed for student use. They are the first of their kind on the campus. The machines use only cold water, which reduces energy needs. They are able to get the clothes cleaner through an oxidation process that breaks down the molecular bonds that holds dirt in the clothing.

The renovation will save 30 to 44 percent in energy costs and will use around 40 percent less water compared to the baseline. The university has said the renovation of Baker Hall is a step in the process to move the university to a more up-to-date, sustainable campus.

The university has said that with the renovation of Baker Hall complete, they are undergoing a Capital Asset Management Plan (CAMP) that optimizes space, invests in capital renewal, and leverages energy savings to complete performance-contacting projects. Ketchum Arts and Sciences building is undergoing a renovation as well as the MacAllister building that will help save the university over half a million dollars in utility costs annually. In addition, they are in the process of constructing a community center including a greenhouse and solar panels. The athletics department is also taking steps by constructing one of the nations first net-zero energy indoor practice facilities. Additional projects are also in the planning phase with construction on the horizon.

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