LEED-certified student housing opens at Penn State Harrisburg

Penn State Harrisburg’s new residence hall, which opened this fall, is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified residential building at Penn State. The 30,000-square-foot structure houses 100 first-year students, bringing the total number of students living on campus to 430.

Designed by SMP Architects of Philadelphia, the four-story building has an extensive list of green features, including renewable bio-fiber paneling, built-in recycling centers on every level, sustainably managed lumber, and recycled-content materials such as carpet, concrete, steel, counters, storage lockers and ceilings. The college used locally-sourced building materials to support area economies and minimize transportation costs.

Other features include energy-conserving heating and cooling units, and energy-efficient lighting systems with motion sensors, and sinks, showers and toilets that reduce water usage. The east-west orientation of the building provides optimal energy conservation and natural lighting and exterior shades moderate seasonal changes in sun angles. Stormwater will be irrigated to rain gardens with drought-tolerant, native species plants, helping to establish a healthy ecosystem around the building.

The college’s new residence boasts several other firsts. The building is Penn State’s first residential building designed to include wireless/keyless card access on the suite and bedroom doors. Students use their university ID card to gain entry.

Throughout the residence hall construction, the college community could watch progress via an online Web cam that chronicled the process from laying the foundation to opening day.

To see images associated with this story, visit http://live.psu.edu/image/27913 and http://live.psu.edu/image/27912 online.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010