CU-Boulder Opens A Green Educational Dorm

The University of Colorado Boulder opened its newest residence hall, Williams Village North, recently. The sustainably-designed dorm is built to LEED standards and offers a long list of energy-saving and renewable energy features, including solar-heated water, PV panels on the covered parking lot, LED lighting, building items with a high level of recycled and locally-sourced materials and Energy Star appliances. According to the World Interior Design Network, the total cost of building was $46.5 million, and it includes 500 beds, five classrooms, a faculty apartment and study spaces.

Besides the more commonplace sustainability items, the building also uses occupancy-sensor lighting, to make sure that energy is not wasted on an empty room. The exterior will feature native landscaping, and storm water will be diverted to it for irrigation. During construction, more than half the waste was kept out of landfills. All of this effort has paid off considerably, with Williams Village North slated to be the first on-campus building to receive LEED Platinum certification.

Image via University of Colorado

Williams Village North plans to offer two Residential Academic Programs (RAPs) that allow students who live in the building to use their new home as a learning experience in sustainable architecture and home design. RAPs are not a new feature of the CU-Boulder campus, and are designed to allow students to take courses in their own residence halls so that they can live and learn with other students who share the same interests.

Architecture Assistant Professor Matthew Jelacic will be serving as faculty-in-residence for both RAPs, and will be part of the team of professors teaching the courses. “My hope for this course is that it helps prepare students to work on solving the complex local-to-global problems faced in the world today such as environmental pollution, sustainable resources, energy scarcity, hunger and socio-economic disparities,” he said.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.