Chidley North, North Carolina Central University’s newest residence hall, has earned LEED gold certification. The $24 million, 517-bed facility opened in August 2011. Designed by architecture firm Lord, Aeck & Sargent it is NCCU’s first to be certified gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a set of rating systems for the design, construction and operation of buildings in ways that minimize adverse environmental effects.
Among Chidley North’s many green design strategies and products are an ICF (insulated concrete form) bearing-wall assembly, an energy recovery system, and an aluminum sunshade assembly. The energy recovery system pre-treats outside ventilation air by recovering the embodied energy in the exhaust air. It reduces the difference between the outside and inside air temperatures and humidity levels by 50 percent. In addition, a high-efficiency chilled water plant in the basement provides cooling at a lower cost.
Many building materials were selected for their low cost of maintenance. For instance, the building core and corridor walls are exposed polished architectural concrete masonry. The floors are poured-in-place stained concrete, chosen again because they are a low-maintenance finish. The zinc roof is expected to last for at least 75 years.
Recycling during and after construction was also a major consideration, with 97 percent of construction waste having been recycled.
“Making the extra effort to achieve gold certification doesn’t just make environmental sense, it also makes economic sense,” said Zack Abegunrin, associate vice chancellor for facilities management. “We will save money on maintenance and energy consumption for many years to come.”
Chidley North is one of two buildings on the NCCU campus to receive LEED certification. The Nursing Department building, also completed last year, has received LEED silver certification.
The environmentally friendly design of the two newest buildings is part of a broader sustainability strategy at NCCU. Other parts of the effort include replacing older fluorescent and incandescent lighting fixtures with LED lighting; replacement of single-layer windows in academic buildings with double-paned windows to save on heating and cooling costs, and upgrades of HVAC, lighting and water systems in the largest campus buildings to make them more energy-efficient.