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Duquesne’s New ‘Green’ Residence Hall Garners Gold LEED Certification

Duquesne has earned the prestigious Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for Des Places Hall, its 12-story, all-suite residence hall on campus. This marks the first time that a University facility has earned Gold LEED certification.

LEED is an internationally recognized mark of excellence that provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

"During this past academic year, sustainable efforts in Des Places Hall saved nearly 22 percent in energy use," said Rod Dobish, executive director of facilities management. "Earning a Gold LEED certification is a testament to Duquesne's ongoing commitment to sustainability."

Des Places Hall, which opened for the fall 2012 semester, houses approximately 400 juniors, seniors, graduate and law students and features one-, two- and three-bedroom suites. The $38 million residence hall was designed with a commitment to sustainability by WTW Architects, which incorporated many sustainable technologies, from drought-tolerant landscaping to use of locally manufactured materials.

Building projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of LEED certification. Des Places Hall was constructed and designed to earn the Gold LEED certification.

Some of the various environmentally friendly features that Des Places Hall include:

  • Water fountains with water-bottle refilling stations that show amount of plastic water bottles saved by their use
  • Elevators with regenerative drives that generate electricity as they brake going down
  • 5-kilowatt solar panel that provides about 1 percent of the building's energy as well as a light-colored roof membrane to offset heat buildup
  • Carpet tiles, acoustical ceiling tiles and underlay on ceramic tiles made with recycled materials
  • Energy-saving LED lights on Seitz Street and on the building's exterior and occupancy sensors on interior lights
  • Conference room with mechanical roller shades to control the amount of light and solar heat gained
  • Windows tinted according to expected sunlight (the darkest tint is on the building's west side and the lightest tint is on the north side of the building).

An educational display in the lobby of Des Places Hall shows the energy usage per floor, and residents will compete by floor to see which can use the least energy.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.