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Hamilton Holmes Hall earns LEED gold for green features

Hamilton Holmes Hall has joined a growing list of Emory buildings to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification for sustainable design and construction.  

The latest recognition, awarded through the U.S. Green Building Council, marks the 10th building at Emory to achieve LEED gold status and the 22nd structure on the Atlanta and Oxford campuses to earn LEED certification, according to Emory's LEED Building List.  

Environmentally friendly features recognized within the 37,868-square-foot, five-story building include energy and water conservation, transportation options and community connectivity, and the use of paint, furnishings and carpeting that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), says Brent Zern, an environmental engineer in Campus Services who served as lead consultant on the project.  

Hamilton Holmes Hall is the fifth building within Emory’s Freshman Village master plan, Zern says. The hall, which opened in 2012, ties into an established gray-water reclamation system, which uses recycled water for toilet flushing. Additional water conservation features capture rainwater and condensation from the HVAC system to use for irrigation.  

"Emory has always been on the cutting edge of sustainability and environmental stewardship," Zern notes. "We adopted LEED very early in its inception and had the very first LEED-certified building in the Southeast with Whitehead (Biomedical Research Building)," he says.  

"In fact, among U.S. campuses, Emory has one of the largest inventories (by square footage) of LEED buildings in the country — we’re certainly near the top, as far as higher education institutions," Zern says.  

Under LEED certification, buildings are evaluated in categories that include: site sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

Long recognized for its sustainability initiatives, Emory recently placed 16th in the 2013 "Cool Schools" rankings, published by the Sierra Club’s Sierra magazine for its commitment to addressing climate disruption through energy use, purchasing practices, transportation initiatives and a Climate Action Plan.  

The University has also earned a gold level rating — the highest achieved by any school — from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education within its Sustainability Tracking and Rating System.

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