Located in Berea, Kentucky, Berea College has long enjoyed a reputation for energy consciousness and environmental support. They contracted CMTA for their expertise in creating the world’s most energy efficient residence hall, which they’ve named Deep Green.
Project At A Glance
Size: 42,000 GSF
EUI: 34 kBtu/sf yr
2015 Living Building Challenge
2016 ASHRAE National Technology Award - First Place
2017 ASHRAE National Technology Award - Honorable Mention
Committed to pursuing the Living Building Challenge
Creating a highly capitalized sustainable building
We found synergies and cost efficiencies to achieve the highest LEED score.
Capital Project Manager
To achieve the ambitious goal of creating the most sustainable residence hall in the world, CMTA engaged team members from the beginning and utilized our Innovate via Research approach to activate sustainable system discussions with the student body, other schools in the area, and community partners.
In an effort to optimize the energy performance, we looked to ASHRAE 90.1, US Department of Energy and other CMTA designed residence halls. The target for the Deep Green residence hall was a 35% reduction from the first ENERGY STAR residence hall we designed for Transylvania University. The chart below provides the detailed energy breakdown that was evaluated.
The Deep Green team's strategies to reduce the HVAC energy included selecting a geothermal central plant that not only served Deep Green, but other campus residence halls. The domestic water system included a solar thermal hot water heating system. Natural lighting was incorporated into the facility to minimize lighting energy consumption. A 50-kW solar photovoltaic system provides a clean, renewable energy source to minimize this building's carbon footprint.
Meeting Our Own High Standards
The Living Building Challenge of the International Living Future Institute tasks projects to meet stringent requirements related to Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. So once an energy efficient system had been selected, the CMTA team had to ensure the system materials were compliant with the Living Building Challenge standards. Many common materials such as PVC and BPA are on the Living Building Challenge’s “Red List,” meaning they could not be used in the construction of this building.
Try buying a refrigerator that does not include conventionally insulated electrical wiring. Standard electrical wiring is insulated with a PVC material. That was just one of many challenges adhering to the stringent “Red List” of projects that have potential long term adverse effects on the environment.
"Living while Learning"
Berea’s Deep Green Residence Hall is more than just a dormitory – it’s a facility that sets the standard for optimal and sustainable student living. To back up the dorm’s noteworthy claims, Berea College students and community members utilized an unconventional approach to reduce the dorm’s carbon footprint. Before the construction phase began, project members came together to log wood with mule teams to keep the carbon footprint as small as possible. They milled and shipped the lumber to Berea’s campus to be used in the dormitory building. These efforts to respect sustainability ultimately prepared Berea Deep Green Residence Hall to become a global leader in sustainability and carbon footprint reduction.
Deep Green is experiencing an EUI of 34 kBtu/sf yr with the geothermal central plant serving a neighboring residence hall. By optimizing the energy performance, the project has been identified as the world’s most energy efficient residence hall. The initial investment in an energy efficient HVAC system was $125,000 higher than baseline systems, connecting to the existing central plant steam/chilled water piping. However, the geothermal system offered an attractive ROI for Berea College. When compared to the baseline system, our custom solution provided an energy and maintenance system savings over 25 years of $1,957,000 and a payback period of less than nine years.