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Green Housing

"West Village—A Green Story"

Picture of West VillageSusquehanna University is committed to environmental consciousness and sustainability. With the second and third phases of the West Village (buildings Laurel, Linden, Elm, Tamarack and Willow Halls) construction, the university recognized an opportunity to pursue certification for the buildings using the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System. This certification process, requiring that the builder meet over two dozen criteria, demonstrates that a building was constructed using sustainable practices.

Highlighted Green Features

Limiting Waste in Construction

Three quarters of the waste matter produced was sent to recycling centers rather than landfills. Construction firms were trained on the proper disposal of waste and encouraged to start with recycled materials in the first place.

Recycling Made Easy

Recycling areas located throughout the building make it easy and convenient for students to make green practices part of their daily lives. Specific areas in the building are dedicated to the collection of paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastic and metal.

Good for You, Good for the Environment

Bicycling is both a healthy and sustainable alternative to hopping in the car for a drive across campus. This is especially true because a significant amount of automobile emissions are generated in the first few minutes of driving. West Village features bicycle racks as well as indoor bike storage areas to encourage students to trade their car keys for a bike lock.

A Green Envelope

The exterior skin of a building—the walls, windows and roof—plays a critical role in its energy efficiency. The buildings feature high-value insulation to keep the building warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. In addition, the windows have a low-emissivity (Low E) coating. This feature allows light and solar heat to pass into the structure but prevents that heat from escaping, so less energy is used to heat the structure in the winter.

Keeping it Clean and Green

Many traditional cleaning products contain powerful chemicals that are potentially harmful to maintenance staff, students and the environment. A commitment has been made to use environmentally preferable cleaning products and practices in the building to help reduce human exposure to these chemicals and to benefit the environment.

You Are What You Breathe

Air quality is a major factor in the health and wellness of the students living in a residence hall. Prior to installation, all ductwork for the building was sealed so that dust and other particles could not enter into the air distribution system. In addition, the heating and ventilation system incorporates more outdoor air, which is tempered through energy recovery units utilizing the conditioned exhaust air being removed from the space.

Light Where You Need It

We all know that leaving the lights on when you’re not in the room is a waste of energy. But did you know that improper use of light in an occupied space can be just as bad?  In the second phase of West Village, light fixtures were strategically placed so that the majority of the light they produce does not shine towards windows where it would then be lost. In addition, fixtures were installed so that light radiates downward rather than upward toward the ceiling.

Other Green Spots

  • Each building utilizes a 95 percent efficiency domestic water heater.
  • Wires and conductors used to carry electrical energy are sized to minimize heat loss.
  • The geothermal well system uses on-site resources for heating and cooling instead of less sustainable resources like oil, coal or gas.
  • Potable water is reduced by 40 percent through the use of low and ultra-low flow bathroom fixtures.
  • High-efficiency heat pumps decrease the energy needed to heat and cool the building.
  • During construction, materials were installed in a sequence to prevent absorption of pollutants and later off-gassing in student space.
  • Paints and sealants having no harmful vapors were used throughout the buildings.
  • In common areas, lighting is controlled by a wall-mounted switch as well as an occupancy sensor.
  • To limit the environmental impact of transporting raw materials, products and materials harvested or manufactured within 500 miles of campus were used.


Susquehanna University’s Project Partners

  • Spillman Farmer Architects
  • R.S. Mowery and Sons
  • Derck and Edson Associates
  • Dave Gutelius Excavating Inc.
  • Edwin L. Heim Company Inc.
  • Silvertip Inc.

Image of architecture at Susquehanna University Request Information

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