Suburban Seattle Student Housing Wins Top USGBC Award

Kenmore, Wash.--Bastyr University's new student village has won "Outstanding Multifamily Project" in the 2010 LEED for Homes Awards from the USGBC.

Kenmore, Wash.–Bastyr University’s new student village has won “Outstanding Multifamily Project” in the 2010 LEED for Homes Awards from the U.S. Green Building Council. The award is the top honor the USGBC gives for multifamily projects.

The student housing complex, which opened in June 2010, houses 132 students in 11 three-story, freestanding cottages. Originally designed by Seattle-based CollinsWoerman to meet LEED Gold, the project exceeded expectations and earned Platinum certification while being completed under budget and ahead of schedule, according to the suburban Seattle university. Special care was taken to leave nearby wooded areas and wetlands undisturbed before and during construction.

As for the project itself, the student village achieved 34 percent energy savings over more traditional multifamily projects and diverted 97 percent of construction waste from landfills. The USBGC noted the “exemplary performance” of a number of features of the design and construction project, including elimination of unnecessary space; radiant-floor heating; high-efficiency boilers, water heaters and heat recovery; and whole-house natural ventilation.

Also featured as part of the design were locally sourced, FSC-certified lumber and extremely low-maintenance, yet highly durable exterior rain screen cladding. CollinsWoerman used low-VOC paints and urea-formaldehyde-free cabinets and doors throughout. The units sport Energy Star appliances and light fixtures, low-flow plumbing, and “butterfly” roofs to capture rainwater. Select units have green roofs.

The impetus for developing green student housing came largely from the university itself, which sees sustainability as an important adjunct to its mission. “As a leader in natural health arts and science education, Bastyr University has embraced its mandate to encourage students to live sustainably, and reflected its values in this village,” Arlan Collins, the CollinsWoerman principal in charge of the project, tells MHN. “Providing students with eco-friendly, LEED-certified housing is perfectly on-mission for a university focused on health and well-being.”

The project, as it happens, was also more cost-effective than a conventional dormitory. Smaller living units proved less costly to build than a dorm and will be less costly to operate, according to CollinsWoerman. Construction costs totaled $12 million of the $16.5 million project overall.