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UnCommon phenomenon: LEED Gold for CA Student Housing project in Eugene

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

LEED GoldUnCommon, the student housing complex in Eugene, Oregon, developed by CA Student Living and designed by Shepley Bulfinch, has received LEED Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council. This is CA’s first LEED Certified project and the latest in Shepley Bulfinch’s portfolio of highly sustainable buildings.

“We’re responding to changes in the urban housing market for college students and graduates,” said JJ Smith, COO of CA Student Living. “They’re looking for a smaller environmental footprint and well-designed spaces close to the life of the campus and the city.”

Using sustainable strategies was logical for CA Student Living, whose research had shown high tenant demand for sustainable student housing; for Shepley Bulfinch, who had completed a number of LEED-certified projects for its clients; and for general contractor Essex Construction, who enthusiastically committed to delivering such a project. The team worked collaboratively from energy modeling to selecting the lighting package and recycling construction waste.

“We take a holistic approach to sustainable design that includes LEED strategies but doesn’t stop there,” said Shepley Bulfinch principal and architect Joe Herzog AIA. “Simply put, smart sustainable design is good design, whether you’re sourcing local materials or incorporating solar shading as a design element.”

UnCommon is an urban infill project and brownfield redevelopment. The site is on the edge of the University of Oregon campus, with a range of community resources within walking distance. The project provides a large canopy and seating for the adjacent public bus stop, while bike racks are located throughout the site.

Locally harvested wood is featured prominently, including cedar siding on the building facade, entry portals and lobby walls. Rain gardens collect storm water that falls on the roof and courtyard, while energy-efficient windows, solar shading, and a highly insulated roof and walls reduce heating demand and cost. UnCommon’s Energy Recovery Ventilation system exchanges energy in already conditioned air to pre-treat incoming outdoor air. More than 70% of construction waste (c. 230 tons) from the project was recycled, diverting it from landfills.

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