By Sam Zacher
Ohio State has produced many Olympic gold medalists over the years — from Jesse Owens to Jerry Lucas to Katie Smith to Michael Redd. Today, OSU stands atop the medal podium once again, but this time it’s for sustainable design.
Ohio State’s Residence on 10th has been awarded Gold certification by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) — the first Gold certified building on campus.
“Residence on 10th is 35.75 percent more efficient than a baseline building,” Associate Vice President for Student Life Molly Calhoun said. “At our energy rates, that equates to a savings of approximately $110,000 per year.”
Buildings can achieve regular LEED certification, Silver, Gold or Platinum certification based on types of sustainable features.
I know from conversations with residents that they are proud of the environmentally friendly features in their building.
- Molly Calhoun, Associate VP for Student Life
An addition to Prior Hall in the Medical Center was the second university project to achieve Gold certification.
Finished in 2012, the $37 million Residence on 10th boasts attributes including geothermal heating and cooling, a white roof to reflect sunlight, vast amounts of windows (with appropriate sun shades), indoor storage for 80 bikes, water-efficient landscaping outside and efficient plumbing. The university also provides weekly recycling pickup outside each room.
Cheria Dial, the assistant hall director, believes that living in the residence has influenced her own “green” thinking.
“I feel like I’m doing a little bit more to decrease our carbon footprint. It’s really easy to recycle, and before I lived here, I never found myself taking things out of the trash that can be recycled, and I feel that now,” Dial said.
According to Calhoun, this sort of teaching about sustainable living is a critical goal that comes with LEED-certified buildings.
“We work to make sure that students learn both the impact of their building on the environment and how they can have an impact personally,” Calhoun said. “I know from conversations with residents that they are proud of the environmentally friendly features in their building.”
The construction of Residence on 10th took place under Ohio State’s Green Build Policy, implemented in 2008, which holds that every project costing more than $4 million must achieve LEED Silver certification or better.
“I think that’s very futuristic of us, and that’s the direction we should be heading,” Dial said, “especially because we have such a large campus with so many students, so we have a unique opportunity to affect people’s perceptions on sustainability and being more conscious.”
All those aspects of the building that help decrease energy use or increase the quality of life and health of its residents placed the Residence on 10th in the 60-79 point Gold range. Even though OSU’s policy now requires a certain number of points per new building, not all sustainable features are utilized just to earn the LEED label.
“While we rarely make decisions based solely on how it would impact LEED certification, we use their standards as a guideline for environmental impact,” Calhoun said. “When we have the opportunity to inject a ‘more green’ option, there are many considerations, including cost, student feedback and impact to operations such as maintenance, housekeeping or housing functions.”
In 2008, former University President E. Gordon Gee signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, and ever since then OSU has demonstrated its dedication to sustainability. In addition to the Green Build Policy, Ohio State now buys 25 percent of its energy from Blue Creek Wind Farm in northwest Ohio.
“It is clear that the university prides itself on being a leader in sustainability, both in Ohio and across the country. Student Life is proud to be a part of that effort so that future generations are able to enjoy our university and our planet,” Calhoun said.