Emory Report
May 4, 2009
Volume 61, Number 30


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May 4
, 2009
Oxford’s East Village brings home the gold

By Cathy Wooten

Just a stone’s throw from Emory’s oldest campus building — Phi Gamma Hall, built in 1851 and a symbol of the university’s beginnings — stands a new building that is emblematic of Emory’s 21st-century goals for sustainable design and construction. East Village, an Oxford College residential complex that opened in fall 2008, was recently awardeda a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating.

East Village is Emory’s first newly constructed building to achieve the gold level of certification; in 2005 Goizueta Business School received a gold-level LEED-EB, which is awarded to existing buildings.

LEED designation is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization that certifies sustainable businesses, homes, hospitals, schools and neighborhoods. LEED candidates must apply for consideration and undergo a rigorous review of their construction and design.

A highlight of East Village’s green design is an innovative storm-water system. Rainwater is collected from the roof and the surrounding streets using a series of artful and aesthetic catchments. These include granite-cobble splash pads, which direct the water into areas where a special soil mixture and selected vegetation filter contaminants and allow the water to percolate back into the ground, recharging the aquifer. Rainwater from the roof of the main lobby flows from a rain leader into a decorative basin, which quickly fills and cascades into a circular pool in East Village’s central wooded courtyard, where it is then piped to an underground cistern. The cistern, which holds 20,000 gallons, is used to irrigate the surrounding grounds during dry periods.

As a LEED Gold building, East Village is a living lesson in sustainable practices for its residents and other students, but its design also includes space for literal classrooms. A modern kitchen facility in the commons area is large enough to accommodate cooking classes, where sustainable food choices and healthy preparation can be demonstrated. Other features include the use of natural daylight, low-flow plumbing fixtures and a highly efficient heating and cooling system.

East Village opened in fall 2008 and accommodates approximately 350 students.