Boston College’s newest dorm, 2150 Commonwealth Ave., is within the range of a silver rating from the Leadership and Energy in Environmental Design rating system. The LEED rating system measures building efficiency and awards environmentally-friendly buildings with ratings. The residence hall was constructed with a silver rating, a score between 50 and 59, in mind because it was a more reachable goal than the gold rating, which is three points higher than 2150 Comm. Ave.’s current rating of 57. As Bob Pion, Boston College’s sustainability director, said, “The specific building type, location, and existing conditions influence availability of credits, as well as making decisions on what is [in] the best interest for the university, the specific building, the building systems, and most importantly, its occupants.”
Aspects of this new LEED rating include sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor air quality. The open space in front of the residence hall as well as its proximity to the BC Green Line stop both contributed to the silver rating. Bike racks installed in designated areas, a new system that recycles used sink and shower water into toilet water, and furniture made of locally harvested wood are also sustainable features that lower the building’s environmental footprint. All of these efforts brought up BC’s LEED score and led to the expected silver rating, which should be official after the results are reviewed by the United States Green Building Council.
Working toward and achieving this rating is a good step toward sustainability at BC. Creating new buildings with this environmental standard in mind is a positive attempt to make BC a more sustainable campus. Stokes Hall, built in 2012, also achieved the silver LEED rating. The current plan is to make the new recreational complex a silver-rated building as well. This new standard is a good plan for future building projects at BC. Efforts should also be made to improve sustainability features within current residence halls. Projects such as composting, formerly housed in Edmond’s Hall, should be rebooted in new locations and expanded across campus. Some of the steps taken in building 2150 Comm. Ave., such as sustainable furniture, would be good additions to existing dormitories to improve sustainability.
Improving sustainability in residence halls, regardless of specific LEED ratings, is a good project for BC that should be continued and expanded. While the rating lends BC credibility in its attempts to improve sustainability, work should continue regardless of ratings to reduce BC’s overall impact.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor