LightView, a sustainable student housing community at Northeastern University in Boston, will source renewable energy for the 310,000 square-foot space and has been awarded U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) highest level of green building certification: LEED Platinum. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world and an international symbol of excellence.
“Our team is honored to receive this prestigious LEED Platinum certification to recognize our passion to find ways to incorporate sustainability in ways that is compatible with affordability,” said James Wilhelm, executive vice president, public-private partnerships for American Campus Communities (ACC). “With smart, sustainable construction and operations including sourcing green energy, we are committed to doing our part in shaping a brighter future for students, employees, campuses, communities, and the planet.”
ACC signed an agreement with Direct Energy Business to source 6,678,000 kWh of renewable energy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, the same amount of electricity produced using conventional fuels such as coal, emits a national average of 5,205 tons of carbon dioxide.
“We are glad to support American Campus Communities’ transition from being sustainability-minded to sustainably-achieving with renewable energy solutions,” said Wayne Simpson, Direct Energy Business Account Executive. “We’re excited to have been chosen for this project and look forward to seeing the many resulting benefits from this agreement.”
LightView was designed and built to maximize residents’ health and well-being while minimizing the use of water, energy, and other natural resources. The student community is located on the Northeastern campus and is steps away from classrooms, shops, restaurants, and public transportation, helping students live a healthy lifestyle while minimizing their environmental impact.
To create a healthy indoor environment, the company strategically placed intact air-barriers that separate each dwelling, ensuring better energy efficiency, air-quality, comfort and sound-attenuation, adjacent apartments to low-VOC paints, adhesives, flooring, and carpets. Building materials were also selected for environmental purposes to limit the impact associated with greenhouse gas emissions including locally sourced materials that were high in recycled content.
Other green features include:
- high-efficacy LED lighting throughout
- high-efficiency, low water laundry
- low-flow shower heads, lavatory faucets and toilets
- drought tolerant plantings
ACC’s 37 LEED-certified projects across the country include the following baseline features to achieve the highest level of sustainability.
- ENERGY STAR appliances
- Motion/occupancy sensors in both offices and auxiliary spaces
- LED lighting through the community and units
- Programmable and zoned thermostats in common areas
- Timers on hot tubs and fire pits to reduce gas consumption
- HVAC commissioning, testing, adjusting and balancing (maximizes efficiency)
- Building Automation System (BAS)
- Low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators
- 1.28 gallons per flush efficiency toilets
- Native plant landscaping
- Advanced Irrigation controls
- Touchless hand dryers
- Recycling programs
- Durable, long-lasting floors and countertops
Indoor Environmental Quality
- Low-VOC paint
- Ceiling fans in each bedroom
- Safer Choice cleaning products (meet U.S. EPA safer product standards)
- Dilution control system (ensures proper mixing of cleaning chemicals)
According to the USGBC, in the U.S. alone, buildings account for almost 40 percent of national CO2 emissions, but LEED-certified buildings have 34 percent lower CO2 emissions, consume 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills.
“LightView’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “LEED was created to make the world a better place and revolutionize our buildings and communities by providing everyone with access to healthy, green and high performing buildings. LightView is a prime example of how the innovative work of project teams can create local solutions that contribute to making a global difference.”
Opened in 2019, LightView was the first developer-led, equity-financed student housing project in the city of Boston. ACC developed the 825-bed, 20-story community in partnership with Northeastern University. It also marked a key milestone for the “Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030” initiative, which aims to improve the quality and quantity of student housing in Boston. As a result, LightView helps free up housing needed for the local community workforce.
“Buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of global energy use, resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and have a significant impact on our personal health and well-being,” said Ramanujam. “Green buildings allow us to live and work more sustainably in ways you can experience – in your health, the air you breathe, the water you drink. They offer us a better quality of life, while also lowering global carbon emissions, reducing electricity and water bills, and creating new green jobs.”
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