The third largest university in the state, the University of Florida, makes up much of the population of Gainesville, Florida. With nearly 57,000 students, the University of Florida was ranked by U.S. News and World Reports as the fifth best public university in the United States.
Among its students, U of F also hosts nearly 16,000 postgraduate students in one of their 123 master’s programs or 73 doctoral programs. Postgraduate students not only have different needs academically, but they also have different needs when it comes to student housing. Postgraduate students are older than the average college student, and many are married with families as they pursue an advanced degree.
Corry Village is graduate student housing located in the heart of the University of Florida’s campus. These buildings needed rehabilitation, and the University of Florida worked with contractor Gray Construction to create student housing that was not only functional and comfortable but environmentally responsible as well.
Green Insight was brought in to consult with all parties on how to achieve the goal of becoming LEED for Homes Platinum certified. The entire project consisted of an entire gut rehab of 128 units in 8 buildings.
Since this project was an entire gut rehab of the existing building, it goes without saying that it posed a few major challenges along the way.
The brick structure of the units combined with the hot and humid climate in Gainesville presented challenges when it came to thermal bypass and ventilation. Corry Village is also centrally located on the sprawling U of F campus meaning there were also challenges for onsite water management that aren’t usually dealt with in projects like this.
Finally, the project needed to be phased with a multiple-year gap between building certifications. Therefore, the team that was present during the first phase wasn’t the same team that was there for the second phase.
Luckily, the heat and humidity are something we are used to working with. With many years of experience working in Florida and the Caribbean, we could offer sensible solutions for air sealing and insulation that would meet and exceed the needs of the building in this type of climate. These solutions included moving from an exhaust-only ventilation system to more balanced ventilation with an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) System, and guiding the construction team on various air sealing and insulation systems. This approach ensured that the project would be long-lasting and durable through the years.
To combat the issue of changing teams throughout the course of the project, onboarding new team members to the project was made more thorough and intentional to ensure continuity no matter who was at the helm. We also utilized a Green Rater/HERS Rater who was familiar with the location of the project to assist with a smooth transition between teams before the completion of the project.
Despite the challenges of this project including the unique challenge of keeping two separate teams up to speed on the same project, Green Insight was able to leverage their expertise in environmentally responsible building even in a climate that can pose its own challenges.
The new housing project now boasts state-of-the-art renovated housing units as well as communal study rooms, a playground for families, and recreational space with basketball and volleyball courts and barbeque areas.
Due to our collaboration, Corry Village at the University of Florida achieved LEED Platinum Certification.