Green Features

Edna Holmes Hall was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Standard. Beyond the green features, the building has a great story to share with its residents. Hear Kurt Haapala, Lead Architect for Holmes Hall, story tell in the video below.

Creating Community

Perhaps one the most relevant and interesting features of this project is the milling and re-purposing of trees from the site. Up to 75% of the maple and fir trees previously located here will return to become furniture, stair treads, wood wall paneling, and trim. Residents will find these wooden wonders in the numerous community spaces in Holmes Hall, including spacious kitchens, fireplace mantels, study nooks and outdoor patio space.This is a very ceremonial way to provide a ‘second life’ for these trees in providing support, comfort and beauty to the students who will reside in this new facility. Joolz Moorcroft, our local Log Whisperer, discusses the importance of preserving the embodied energy of all things in this video.  

Sustainable Sites

Sustainable site strategies include a focus on development density (small site footprint) and community connectivity, including over 10 common facilities within walking distance of the project. The project benefits from convenient access to public transit as well as student access to carpool vehicles and bike storage.

Other site strategies include sustainable storm water management and plazas, pathways, and roof materials designed to reduce the ‘heat island effect’ (that is to say, the site does not absorb radiant heat but reflects it). Exterior lighting has also been designed to limit the amount of unnecessary light pollution to the surrounding areas. In this video, Eric Bode, Landscape Architect, describes these features in more detail.

Energy & Water Efficiency

The building is designed to use 40% less water than a typical housing building through the installation of highly efficient irrigation, low-flow toilets, faucets and other plumbing fixtures. Energy saving design features will use 26% less energy than a residential building built to current energy standards. Systems included are:

  • Operable windows for natural ventilation and passive cooling
  • Window switches to turn off heating when windows are open
  • Energy efficient lighting and lighting systems
  • Heat recovery ventilators save heating energy for common area ventilation
  • High performance walls and windows (highly insulated) help mitigate building heat loss
  • High efficiency water heaters and low flow fixtures save water heating energy

Brad Wilson with PAE, describes the mechanics behind these features in the following video.

Additionally, the project focuses on user comfort by providing controllability of systems, including Individual temperature and lighting controls provided in every room. The design also enhances user comfort by providing both daylight and views from the majority of normally occupied spaces.

Construction Process & Waste Management

Considerable effort has been made to minimize material waste on the job-site and throughout the life of the building. This was done by select materials that are most appropriate for our climate, provide a high level durability and insulation, contain recycled content and that are harvested and manufactured in the region. Collectively, these initiatives help reduce carbon emissions from trucks transporting waste from, and products to, the project site. The knowledgeable and passionate crew at Walsh Construction describe the thinking behind the construction process and the material selection in the video below.

Materials & Resources

Furniture and finishes throughout of the building were selected with sustainability in mind; recycled content, rapidly renewable, and reclaimed materials are present throughout the building. Watch the below interview with Amy Noe, Interior Designer for Holmes Hall, to find out more!

Additionally, materials and products have been specified that eliminate or reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These materials range from adhesives and paint to carpet and composite wood products. Additionally, the project team has worked hard to eliminate harmful refrigerants in equipment as part of an Enhanced Refrigerant Management program.