Spotlight on Sustainable Student Housing: Warren and Moore Residential Colleges at Vanderbilt University

As the benefits of green building become more widely recognized, universities are increasingly placing a priority on adding sustainable buildings to their campuses. In fact, Engineering News-Record’s 2014 Green Sourcebook reported that green building projects accounted for 51 percent of all construction activity in the education sector between 2008 and 2013.

For many universities, the focus on sustainability goes beyond energy efficiency and sustainable materials; it is about improving the health and well-being of students through sustainable buildings and environments. New student housing projects such as the Warren and Moore residential colleges at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, exemplify that trend.

We recently completed this $94 million student housing project, which earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification.

Designed to replace six existing residence halls constructed in the 1960s, the two new residential colleges include 395,000 sq ft and house nearly 650 students. The facilities also include a centrally located student center, underground parking and mechanical spaces.

sustainable student housing

Metal panels upcycled from the demolished buildings create unique wall décor

The team recycled more than 75 percent of the 21,000 tons of debris removed from the site following demolition of the existing buildings. In fact, some of the metal was upcycled to create unique wall décor in the new residence halls.

The buildings were constructed with sustainable materials, including a 75-year roof and high-performance glass. The buildings also incorporate natural light to reduce energy use and provide the health benefits of natural sunlight. In fact, more than 90 percent of regularly occupied dormitory spaces feature a direct line of sight to the outdoors.

The residence halls include elements designed to reduce water use and energy consumption: low-flow sinks and toilets, low-mercury lighting, low-flow, adjustable-pressure showers, and individually controlled thermostats.

In addition to creating a sustainable building, the team worked to create a sustainable site. Native landscaping was used to minimize water use and maintenance for the plants in the courtyard that serves as a green roof over the underground parking deck.

As beautiful as they are green, the residence halls feature unique design elements involving more than 1.6 million bricks and four ornate limestone arches with hand-carved details.

Combined, the dormitories comprise Vanderbilt’s largest LEED-certified facility and the seventh largest in Middle Tennessee. The halls also comprise the largest certified multi-unit higher education residence facility in the state. For more information on the Warren and Moore Residential Colleges at Vanderbilt University, visit our project library.