GCC Integrating Sustainable Measures in New Student Housing

Monday, October 14, 2013

  • A new rendering of the complex with a 'living' roof.

    A new rendering of the complex with a 'living' roof.

Written by Alice Lin

Last year, the Guelph Campus Co-op (GCC) initiated a $5 million initiative to celebrate its 100 year legacy. The new apartment complex, located on College Avenue West, will house approximately 70 students and features a unit that is fully accessible which was made possible through a funding by the CSA’s affordable housing initiative.

The intent of the complex was not only to provide affordable housing to students, but also one that is sustainable. The design was executed by a local firm, Grinham Architects, whom have incorporated a variety of meticulous detail into the blueprint of the project to make it sustainable. For example, the designs of the windows are oriented in a particular direction to maximize the use of passive solar energy and the use of concrete was chosen as the material of choice in installing in-floor heating because of its radiant properties.

The monthly rate is estimated at $593, the project was scheduled for completion in January 2014 however, the date has been postponed to May 2014 due to variousconstruction and planning delays.

Tom Klein Beernink, the manager of housing and member relations said that the co-op has teamed up with researchers from UofG to supply the resources in implementing a green roof on the southern exposure of the complex. The nature of the plant is relatively low maintenance and also helps to collect rainwater which will be filtered, collected, and used in the buildings. In addition to the living roof, an accessible unit, and incorporating environmental design into the project, the complex will also employ other technologies such as energy efficient lighting and appliances as well as low-flush toilets.

With all the new environmentally conscious technologies being implemented into the building, would the building benefit from pursuing an accreditation from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification? “The costs to obtain a LEED certification would bring up the price of the student’s rental fees” Beernink answered. It is important to note that it is part of the GCC’s core mandate to provide affordable housing units and that their interests are in serving students at the University of Guelph.

Additionally, sustainability is not just about the environment. This project took it a step further by employing contractors and workers from nearby communities. By doing so, GCC is building on the long term sustainability of our local Guelph community and fostering important relationships through working together with students, campus groups and academic researchers at the University.

Applications are expected to open in late 2013 or early 2014. Stay up to date with this project by checking in with the Guelph campus co-op here: http://www.guelphcampus.coop/page.php?id=24&n=27.

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