Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Nagel Hall may get gold designation


Nagel Hall is expected to be completed June 2008. The building may get gold status from the U.S. Green Building Council. PHOTO BY: Jeff Haessler.

Nagel Hall is on the brink of meeting “gold” guidelines for “green” buildings and at least one University official is tickled pink.

The gold guidelines are standards set up by the U.S. Green Building Council under a program called LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Gold status is a step up from silver, which Nagel Hall was intended to achieve when designed.

But better-than-expected progress in constructing the $39.8 million residence hall has made University officials hopeful that the half-built building could end up “greener” than expected.

“It’s like silver is a B+ and we’re worrying about being A or A+,” University Architect Mark Rodgers gushes.

LEED standards measure buildings in six categories: sustainability; water savings; energy efficiency; materials selection; indoor environmental quality; and innovation and design. Points are awarded for meeting goals in each category. If the total is high enough, the building gets one of four designations: certified, silver, gold or platinum.

“We believe we will get 30 points plus 7, which is well into silver,” Rodgers says. “Thirty-nine is the threshold for gold.”

Possible extra points could be squeezed from raising the percentage of construction waste that is recycled; increasing the amount of wood in the building certified by the Forest Stewardship Council; and developing an education program for students who will live in the new residence hall.

Points also could be obtained for upgrading the way the building’s performance is monitored; contracting to obtain “green” power; setting up an alternative transportation program; and adding more native plants that require less irrigation.

Because each of these possibilities comes with a price tag and might affect other aspects of construction, officials are carefully studying how the changes could reasonably square with their overall goal of erecting the best possible building on budget.

Construction of the five-story, 369-bed hall began in January and is expected to be completed by June 2008. The building will have a food-court-style dining area with adjacent space for classes or special events, a game room, group study rooms, an outdoor dining plaza and research space, and academic offices and classrooms.

The only other DU building that presently has a gold designation is the Ricketson law building at the Sturm College of Law.

Comments are closed.