August 27, 2014

Juniper renovation brings sustainable technology to residence hall

Outfitted with the latest sustainable technology and tailored to student feedback, a renovated Juniper Hall will open to students this fall.
  • Michel George, associate vice president for facilities, leads a tour of the remodeled Juniper residence hall.

Outfitted with the latest sustainable technology and tailored to student feedback, a renovated Juniper Hall will open to students this fall. The new building has been designed to be tough enough to withstand a major earthquake, while still keeping in mind comfort and efficiency.

In the new Juniper, the old building’s midcentury design frames an interior that is open to more natural light and community interaction. In addition, its recycled lumber and super-insulated structure measure up to the institution’s rigorous standards for green building.

“I think it’s going to be a lot more open,” said Michel George, associate vice president for facilities. “We want it to feel welcoming when you come in.”

Juniper’s new stairwell connects three floors through a central column. Inside the main lounge, students can find adaptable furniture, an LED fireplace, and an induction stove top, surrounded by nearly floor-to-ceiling windows.

Facilities renovated Juniper’s 30 beds (single, double, and triple occupancy rooms) into 29 single rooms. Each room comes with its own thermostat, moveable furniture, full-size bed, and improved soundproofing. Dimmable lights shine in a “daylight color” so eyes tire less easily during long study sessions. Above the windows, a plastic strip called a trickle vent retains a room’s temperature, but lets fresh air filter in. In the individual, gender-neutral bathrooms in the center of the building, a range of showerheads are fitted with advanced temperature and pressure regulators.

The rooms open into hallways where natural light floods each end, augmented by LED bulbs that use 70 percent less energy than fluorescents. The entire end of one hallway on the ground floor serves as an ADA-accessible entrance.

Even Juniper’s less visible components contribute to its comfort and durability. Plastic tubing expands and contracts in cold temperatures, replacing copper pipes that might freeze in the winter. Blown foam with tiny air pockets saves $1,500 a year on heating and energy costs. CAT-6 cable speeds up Wi-Fi access.

In fact, some of the building’s most important features will never be seen—and will rarely be used. New cross-bracing and a better distribution of lateral forces meet City of Portland seismic code, so in case of an earthquake, the frame will hold up long enough for residents to evacuate.

Depending on responses from students, Facilities will consider renovating more of the Forest halls in the style of Juniper. A testing ground for innovation, the new building turns concepts in sustainable design into reality.

Said George, “Sometimes you need to build it so people can see it.”

Caleb Diehl ’16 contributed to this story.

Campus Living Sustainability at Lewis & Clark