Completely Renovated Corry Village for Graduate Students and Families Earns LEED Platinum Certification

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.

Project Details

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.

Project Challenges

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.

Solutions

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.

Results

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.

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Hotel Clovis Earns LEED for Homes Platinum Certification

The city of Clovis, New Mexico sits just 9 miles west of the border of Texas and is called home to almost 40,000 people. A large agricultural community, Clovis is surrounded by large peanut and cotton farms as well as busy cattle ranches.

At the city’s heart sits the Art Deco gem, the Hotel Clovis. Built in 1931, this 10-story former hotel earned the distinction of being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.  Its hospitality days long over, Hotel Clovis is now used as both a residential and commercial piece of real estate.

Project Details

Hotel Clovis now boasts 31 rental lofts and 8,000 square feet of commercial space. Two new buildings have been added to its ranks to increase Hotel Clovis to half a city block while providing an additional 28 dwelling units.

During the renovation of this historic building, Green Insight was brought in to consult with developers and contractors to create a state-of-the-art environmentally responsible project while maintaining the building’s historic charm.

We worked with developer Tierra Realty Trust and contractor Century Communities II to help the team:

  • Earn LEED for Homes credit
  • Test during construction
  • Pass quality assurance review
  • Make energy-efficient recommendations
  • Make building material assessments
  • Review construction documents and specifics
  • Review all project submittals

Project Challenges

Before Tierra Realty Trust acquired development rights for the building, the city of Clovis had slated to demolish the historic building due to findings that rehabilitation of the building would be cost prohibitive to the city.

With its proven track record of successfully turning historic buildings into sustainable housing communities, Tierra Realty Trust acquired the rights after numerous other developers looked at rehabilitation over the course of many years, but it ultimately backed away from the challenges the building posed.

One of the biggest challenges the developer faced was air infiltration through the building’s envelope, which could not be modified in any way due to its historically registered status. An additional challenge was meeting the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standard 62.2 which governs indoor air quality, and ventilation specifically.

Project Solutions

To combat the building envelope issue, Green Insight recommended adding interior closed-cell insulation to the block and brick veneer exterior walls. Nano gel was added to the plaster on the first floor and the grand historic ballroom to increase the insulation level as high as possible while maintaining historic finishes. To meet ventilation standards, they added trickle vents cut into the window and the whole building’s ventilation system was plumbed to very high-efficiency variable speed exhaust fans which also maintained the historic exterior.

To ensure sustainability in the building, a 35kW photovoltaic system was installed on the roof of all of the newly constructed buildings to power the common spaces and new buildings at Hotel Clovis. In all, 80% of the units in these new buildings have a passive solar orientation.

Project Results

By collaborating with Green Insight, developers and contractors were able to meet and exceed their goals of sustainable energy while maintaining the building’s historical integrity. This collaboration resulted in:

  • LEED for Homes Platinum Certification
  • A New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit of $525,825
  • A Historic Preservation Tax Credit of $118,248

Ultimately, the vision and work of all teams resulted in the successful adaptive reuse of a depression-era hotel that was slated to be demolished. It now stands as a model of sustainability with historic charm right in the heart of Clovis.

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La Pradera Earns LEED for Homes Platinum Certification in Hobbs, NM

Hobbs, New Mexico has a rich multicultural history boasting true cowboy legends, long-held farming traditions, and rich Hispanic culture. Known for its blue skies and breathtaking sunsets, Hobbs truly represents the very best of what the high desert can offer.

One more thing that Hobbs can now boast of is a commitment to sustainable green construction in the form of the La Pradera multi-family housing project. This affordable housing complex is certified LEED for Homes Platinum and represents Hobbs’ efforts to bring its rich heritage into the 21st century.

The Project

The La Pradera housing project consists of 8 multi-family buildings for a total of 60 affordable housing units. The complex also contains a community building and a daycare center.

Green Insight was brought in by Tierra Realty Trust, the project’s developer, to work alongside developers and the project’s contractor, Century Construction. Green Insight worked with all parties on:

  • Green goal facilitation
  • Facilitating charrettes
  • LEED for Homes credit verification and testing during the construction process
  • Quality assurance review
  • Energy modeling
  • Building material assessments
  • Review of specifications
  • Construction documents
  • Project submittals

Developers and contractors teamed with Green Insight to reach all of their sustainable building goals and to create a modern multi-story housing complex that was designed to meet a HERS index of 59 while meeting all criteria to qualify for the New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit.

Stephen Crozier, president of Tierra Realty Trust, isn’t new to green building nor developing projects that meet LEED for Homes certification. Crozier states, “I have been building green since I formed Tierra Realty Trust in 1997, and each year with each new project, we have tried to make each project greener than the previous. LEED is a natural extension of our company’s business ethic.”

Challenges

The developer’s main goal was to develop a building that was modern and was constructed to achieve a HERS rating of 60 or better and LEED for Homes certification in order to qualify for the New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit. One major challenge from the beginning was that the site secured for the project was in a rural setting.

Another challenge was working with a general contractor who didn’t have experience in building green. Additionally, the area offered only a limited subcontractor base that was also limited in green building experience.

Green Insight was then brought in to work side by side with all parties to ensure the project was both high quality while still meeting the developer’s goals.

Solutions

Even the site for the complex was chosen with environmental concerns in mind. Found within walking distance of public schools, shops, open spaces, and other conveniences, La Pradera’s location reduces or eliminates the need for a car and thus the environmental impact a car can have. It’s also located within half a mile of over 14 community services and schools which reduces the number and length of daily trips residents need to make to access needs of daily living.

Contractors also contributed to the sustainability goal through the use of environmentally responsible building materials. The exterior of the building was completely made of insulated concrete forms (ICF) and the modular layout meant there was almost no waste in the exterior wall system. The concrete walls, footings, insulation, and numerous other materials contained recycled content. Paint, adhesives, and sealants were all made of low volatile organic compounds to promote high indoor air quality and better health for builders and inhabitants alike.

Results

Green Insight was able to work with developers and contractors to create a finished product that not only met the developers’ goals for sustainability but exceeded them. All together, the finished La Pradera housing complex earned:

Additionally, La Pradera also met green milestones such as:

  • 73.5% savings in interior water use
  • Plants that are 100% drought tolerant
  • Vegetative or impermeable surfaces directed to infiltration are used in 73% of the site

La Pradera is truly a model for future green building projects looking to meet specific goals of sustainability.

Do you want to learn how Green Insight can find the perfect solution for your green building project?

Get in touch today. We would love to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you achieve green building success. Let’s start the process