New USC Property to be First LEED Platinum Student Housing

Los Angeles--A new student housing property at the University of Southern California opened with the distinction of being the only student housing in the country to be on track to earn LEED platinum certification.

Los Angeles—West 27th Place, a new student housing property at the University of Southern California, opened this week with the distinction of being the only student housing in the country to be on track to earn LEED platinum certification, the highest level awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. Once the property is certified platinum, it will also be only one of four such properties in the entire Los Angeles metro area.

The mixed-use property includes 161 apartment units and retail space, and is being developed by CityView and Symphony Development. West 27th Place offers studios and one- to four-bedrooms units ranging from 425 square feet to 1,364 square feet. It is now fully leased; and students are moving in before the new school year starts.

Platinum status won’t keep the building from offering the amenities now common to student housing, such as a pool, spa, fitness center and recreation room. There are private study rooms are located on every floor, and each unit has a full-sized washer and dryer, as well as refrigerators, microwaves, ranges, dishwashers and televisions.

Besides being green, the sustainable features will lower overall operating costs, according to the developer. David Hilliard, president of Symphony Development, tells MHN that the greatest savings in operational costs with a LEED platinum student housing property are in water and electricity costs. “We will immediately and continuously save on water consumption through the high-efficiency landscape irrigation systems, stormwater retention systems, drought-tolerant plants, water-efficient showerheads, toilets, faucets, dishwashers and clothes washers, and a rapid-recovery water heating system,” he says.

As for controlling electricity usage, and thus the operational costs involved, Hilliard cites the high-efficiency fluorescent and LED lighting; timers and photo cells throughout the building additional insulation factor in walls, roof and double pane windows/glass doors; energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems; and reduced envelope leakage—that is to say, tighter construction techniques.

But these savings won’t be the only benefits for the building, Hillard adds. “Beyond the operational costs savings, LEED platinum recognition means we have a better built building, separating us from other student housing projects,” he says. “That’s a priceless marketing amenity.”