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Duquesne residence hall earns Gold LEED certification

Duquesne University’s Des Places Hall, which opened in the fall of 2012, has been awarded Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

In doing so, it becomes the first Duquesne University building to earn such status.

WTW Architects designed the $38 million, all-suite dorm, which houses about 400 juniors, seniors and graduate students, and uses nearly 22 percent less energy than a standard dormitory.

“We’re committed at the university to have any new construction to be LEED certified,” says Rod Dobish, Duquesne’s executive director of facilities management.

Among its energy-saving mechanisms, Des Places (pronounced "déh plah") Hall utilizes carpet, ceiling tiles and ceramic tiles made from recycled materials. A five-kilowatt, roof-top solar panel accounts for about 1 percent of the building’s energy. Additionally, the dorm's elevators are equipped with regenerative drives that generate electricity as they brake.

Des Places is also designed to save large amounts of water, and to that end, includes drought-tolerant landscaping and water refilling stations with water fountains on every floor.

“Students, instead of using bottled water, can fill up containers on each floor. At some point, we’d like to start a competition to see who can have the most energy,” Dobish says. “We’re not just delighted, but the students who live there have given it glowing reviews.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Rod Dobish
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