O’Shaughnessy Hall has earned U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. It is the 18th Virginia Tech facility to become LEED certified and the seventh to earn Gold certification.

Pursuing LEED Silver or higher certification for new construction and major renovations of campus buildings is just one of the many ways the university continues to advance its sustainability efforts in support of the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment.

The commitment serves as the university’s guiding framework around sustainability and energy efficiency in campus operations, facilities, curriculum, and research. In late 2019, President Tim Sands called for its renewal and revision to ensure the most stringent climate and sustainability standards are implemented as Virginia Tech continues to grow and seeks to be a leader in environmental stewardship.

The final report continues to move through university governance and the financial review stage ahead of expected final approval and implementation later this spring.

Built originally in 1966, O’Shaughnessy Hall is a 69,211-square-foot co-ed residence hall. It is home to the Leadership and Social Change Residential College (LSCRC), a two-year academic leadership studies and development program that gives students the option to complete a minor in leadership and social change. It is the newest of Virginia Tech’s three residential colleges. Major renovations to the building kicked off in May 2017 and were completed in August 2018.

LEED projects earn points across nine areas that address key aspects of green buildings including water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, innovation, materials and resources, and more.

Among the notable sustainable design features in the building are low-flow restroom fixtures, replacement LED lighting, no potable water use for irrigation, and energy-efficient windows. More than 60 percent of the existing building was utilized in the renovations, reducing the total energy required to extract, process, manufacture, and deliver materials to the building site. New building materials were secured through sustainable procurement practices and contained over 20 percent recycled and regional content material.

Additional improvements included ADA-compliant student residential rooms, bathrooms, and restrooms; an accessible open kitchen; an accessible faculty apartment; and a barrier-free courtyard. O’Shaughnessy Hall’s new community spaces – a large classroom, living room, exterior courtyard, library, and more – remain a building hallmark, helping to foster collaboration and dialogue among students and faculty.

“Sustainability was the major focus for this project, as it is for every new building or capital renovation project at Virginia Tech. Campus planning, contracting, and construction teams leveraged the LEED rating system, as well as the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment, as frameworks for the project’s sustainable features,” stated Aaron Curfiss, project manager for the renovation.

Other building collaborators included the architect/engineer for the renovation, Moseley Architects, in partnership with Lord Aeck Sargent. The contractor was W.M. Jordan, whose team has been engaged in numerous green construction projects at Virginia Tech.

“O’Shaughnessy Hall showcases the best of our green design and construction techniques and will join the ranks of some of our favorite LEED projects at Virginia Tech. Our company is proud to collaborate with an institution that shares our desire to create a more sustainably-built environment,” said Brandon Renick, project manager for W. M. Jordan on O’Shaughnessy Hall.

Now that O’Shaughnessy Hall has officially been awarded its rating, it will be added to the council’s certified database and will soon receive a USGBC LEED Gold plaque to be hung inside the building.

Learn more about Virginia Tech’s LEED certification and green building initiatives.

Written by Christy Myers

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