This week you resident tree hugger will take you inside the Dirty Murph. Now you may know about the recent renovations that the Murphy residence hall underwent, but you may not know that the hall is now LEED Silver certified. LEED which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is awarded by the US Green Building Council, a non-profit organization. To get the Silver certification, a step above just plain certification, but below Gold and Platinum, the Murphy renovations had to score between 50 and 59 points.
Carol Dietz, the Associate Vice President of Facilities as well as the chair of the Sustainability Committee, explains that the points start adding up even before the renovations had started. By electing to preserve most of the original structure John Carroll not only saved a beautiful campus building, but minimized the amount of new material that would be needed in the renovation. This cut down cost and waste. During construction special care was taken to preserve the soil surrounding Murphy (it puts the dirt in “Dirty”) minimizing erosion. Over half of all non-hazardous waste generated during construction was sorted and recycled as well.
But it is inside the completed Murphy where the real innovations lie. The heating/cooling system is more efficient and uses a greener refrigerant without CFC’s. CFC’s, or chlorofluorocarbons are the molecule responsible for the ozone hole. Also all carpets and tiles are made out of recycled material and all timbers are from a sustainable forestry operation. The lights in common areas are on motion sensors so no one can forget to turn the lights off, and the shower heads and sinks are designed to use less water without sacrificing pressure.
One of the biggest commitments that John Carroll has made is to ensure that 35% of all electricity used in Murphy come from renewable sources such as wind and solar. This, according to Ms. Dietz, is the biggest commitment to renewable energy JCU has ever made, and a huge step forward for sustainable practices on campus. Soon Facilities hopes to put a real time dash board of energy usage on the main lobby of Murphy so students and visitors can track electrical consumption, and see the conservation efforts in action.
Ms. Dietz also stated that the complaints of leaks and peeling paint filed earlier this year were not a result of following LEED building standards. They were growing pains following a major renovation and have been by in large dealt with since.
Stay classy and stay green JCU.