When 55 students arrived on campus in early July 2009 to begin summer Greek School, Columbia’s new $9.6 million residence hall was ready for its first occupants. Built with generous gifts to the seminary’s capital campaign, this remarkable building blends gracefully into Columbia’s wooded campus and its classic gothic buildings of red brick. Yet this structure is distinctly different from every other one on campus. It was designed and built as a “green”building, and is expected to be one of the first in Decatur, GA, to earn LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System® is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings.
Designed by the award-winning architectural firm Lord, Aeck & Sargent, the residence hall is expected to use approximately 50 percent less energy than a conventionally constructed facility. The building is sited to minimize east and west exposures to reduce unwanted glare and heat gain, and many nearby trees were preserved to provide natural sun shading. Large windows take advantage of natural light, with sunscreens reducing direct solar gain where appropriate. Lighting includes motion sensor switching, energy efficient lamps, and generous amounts of natural light.
Other design strategies include an exterior building envelope with above-average insulation values, energy-efficient windows, and a geothermal mechanical system that will provide low operating costs and a long lifecycle. Water efficiencies include rainwater collection for landscape irrigation, and water saving plumbing fixtures. Recycled and regional construction materials were used, and indoor air quality protected through the use of low VOC adhesives and coatings. Even construction waste was recycled or reused to the greatest extent possible.
The residence hall includes studio and one-, two-, and four-bedroom apartment units; a recreation/workout area accessible to students, staff and faculty; a community kitchen with indoor and outdoor seating and fireplaces; a laundry area for residents, and mechanical and facilities support spaces. The building’s layout efficiently locates residential units on both sides of a central organizing spine on three residential floors. Major common spaces are located on the level below the main entry level, which overlooks recreation fields.
During and after construction of this building, our most important value has been environmental stewardship. We used regional and recycled building materials as much as possible and diverted construction waste from landfills. The geothermal HVAC and electric systems, monitored by an energy display panel, are designed to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption.
Jim Philips Chair, Residence Hall Shepherding Committee
At Columbia Theological Seminary, we are growing in our commitment to the theology and practice of creation care. Sustainable building has been a primary goal for the design of this residence hall as we seek to be good stewards of God’s creations. So, as we transform our campus living spaces, we share the witness of stewardship with others.
J. Martin Sadler, Vice President for Business and Finance