These red brick buildings are green.
“It’s hard to tell it is so environmentally friendly, it just feels like a really nice dorm,” says Lauren Masterson, a Carleton College freshman and resident of Cassat Hall, one of two new recently completed dormitories getting rave reviews from residents.
Cassat as well as Memorial Hall, which were both built following stringent environmental standards, are also winning plaudits from farther afield.
Last year, the dorms were awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification status for their work toward environmental sustainability. Gold is the second highest possible rating a building can receive, and the distinction only belongs to roughly 300 buildings in the country.
Cassat and Memorial, completed just before this year’s fall term began in September, were also spotlighted in a New York Times article two weeks ago that cited the buildings’ “real-time energy monitors” that track the energy usage of each floor of the building. The floor-by-floor energy usage is then compared in graphs that let residents know which floor of the building is “winning” the competition to be the most environmentally sustainable.
Masterson says her favorite features of the Cassat dorm are its heated floors and solar power-heated water.
The building’s construction, as well as its daily operating use, also followed strict green guidelines. For example, 20 percent of the building materials were manufactured within five hundred miles of Northfield in order to reduce carbon emissions used during transportation of the materials to the building site.
In addition, over 75 percent of the construction waste generated from building the dorms was recycled or reused and not sent to landfills.
The buildings also employ an “envelope” design that efficiently retains heat, and the heated tile floors conserve energy by radiating heat from floor to ceiling. In addition, the dorms are designed to use 30 percent less water than average through the use of dual-flush toilets and eco-friendly showerheads.
Lights that automatically switch off when they don’t detect anyone in a room also save on energy costs.
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