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November 28, 2010 10:00 AM CST

University Columns at Southern Polytechnic State University Pursuing LEED Silver Certification


Southern Polytechnic State University's University Columns, a community designed to house fraternities, sororities and university sanctioned organizations, is on track for LEED Silver certification under LEED for Homes by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for achievement in green building and design. University Columns is one of five SPSU projects currently pursuing LEED certification.

LEED for Homes is a green certification program that rewards single-family residences that are designed and built to be energy- and resource-efficient, healthier and more durable for their occupants. LEED certified buildings complete a technically rigorous process that includes an energy analysis and onsite inspections to verify that the buildings are built to be energy and water efficient, environmentally sound and a healthier place to live.

Green buildings can have substantially lower utility bills and qualify for beneficial financing, lower insurance rates and government incentives. University Columns focuses heavily on reducing energy use, reducing water use and the efficient use of materials. The sustainable features of the project include an efficient heating and cooling system (designed to achieve a 16 percent annual energy savings), a high performance building envelope, use of environmentally preferred building materials, drought tolerant and native plantings, a highly efficient irrigation system, digital thermostats set to optimize energy efficiency, fresh air ventilation, indoor contaminant control and the use of low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, sealers and adhesives.

Each of the 10 houses contain four single occupied bedrooms and four double occupied bedrooms. Additional amenities in each house include a large chapter room, kitchen, laundry room, private bathrooms and multi-purpose room. In addition to the 10 houses, a Community Center is located adjacent to the site. The Community Center has been designed to the same sustainable requirements as the homes. It will be certified at a silver level under Southface's Earthcraft Light Commercial Program.

"As a LEED-certified project, University Columns will continue SPSU's commitment to sustainability," said Dale McClain, project manager at Niles Bolton Associates, architect on the project. "The community was designed and constructed to be a good neighbor by reducing its environmental footprint and providing a greener place for students to live."

University Columns was developed by Ambling University Development Group, in association with Juneau Construction, Niles Bolton Associates and Southface.

About the Author

Southern Polytechnic is a residential, co-educational member of the very progressive University System of Georgia. Learn more about Southern Polytechnic at


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