Williams Village earns local green building award

When students begin unpacking their bags in Williams Village North later this month, they’ll be settling in to what could be the “greenest” place they’ve ever called home. The residence hall recently earned the distinction of “Best Green Multi-Residential Building” at the first annual Boulder Valley Green Building Awards.

The awards, which are a partnership between the Colorado Green Building Guild and the Boulder County Business Report, were presented at the Millennium Harvest House in Boulder on August 7 during the Business Report’s annual Green Summit: Blending Business & the Environment.

Spanning nine categories that include residential, healthcare, education, hospitality and more, the awards honor “interesting, dynamic entries worthy of recognition for enlightenment, creativity and leadership.” The multi-residential category encompasses apartment buildings, dormitories and communal living venues.

The awards committee looked at how nominees reduced their overall carbon footprints -- not just the energy savings associated with projects. The committee also looked at how recycled and re-used materials were used during construction.  

“Knowing the high sustainability expectations of the Boulder community, it is always delightful to be recognized by members of this community for our sustainability and resource conservation efforts, especially during this time of expansion and growth on campus,” says Moe Tabrizi, campus sustainability director.

In 2011, Williams Village North was named a grand prize winner by Buildings magazine in the "Green Facility" category. It also won an "Outstanding Design" award from American School and University magazine.

The making of a green residence hall

Williams Village North, near the corner of 30th Street and Baseline Road, is CU-Boulder’s newest residence hall, opening its doors in August 2011. The $46.5 million building is rated LEED Platinum, making it the first residence hall of its size in the nation to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest possible designation.

The six-story building, which is nearly 40 percent more energy and water efficient than modern code-compliant buildings of the same size, gets 12.5 percent of its energy from on-site solar panels. Residents have a hand in controlling the flow of electricity, as they are able to shut off power to nonessential and not-in-use outlets with single switches installed in each room.

The residence hall has low-flow water fixtures installed in sinks, showers and toilets, and native landscaping that requires little or no watering. A free water bottle filling station shows how many plastic containers may have been diverted from landfills as users fill reusable containers. Other green features include energy-efficient lighting with daylight harvesting, advanced heat-recovery systems and low-volatile organic compound, or VOC, materials.

Williams Village North is home to two Residential Academic Programs: Sustainable by Design, and Social Entrepreneurship for Equitable Development and Sustainability.

“We’ve previously been able to share the sustainability success story of Williams Village with campus stakeholders and a national audience,” says Curt Huetson, Housing & Dining Services director of facilities planning and operations. “The Boulder Valley Green Building Awards event has been an opportunity to share best practices with those on the local leading-edge of green building concepts.”

For more

A list of finalists and winners in the Boulder Valley Green Building Awards can be found in the Boulder County Business Report. Also, visit the Colorado Green Building Guild for more information about sustainable building.

To learn more about Williams Village North's sustainability features, see "CU's Williams Village North earns platinum rating in LEED certification."