8 Webster Avenue Hanover New Hampshire

Green Construction

         by SEAN REGAN '91 Building Committee Chair

Speaking as one of the few LEED-Accredited Professional (TM) developers in the nation, I'm proud of the sustainable features we've incorporated into the new house. It won't be LEED-certified because at the time we started design the US Green Building Council did not have a good certification standard for renovation and additions to multi-family residential buildings. But we've made smart decisions along the way and the new Zete will be more sustainable than many new dorms built today.

Green House

The first set of LEED criteria involves the site and surrounding community. Our residents can walk to class, work, stores, banks etc so that's a huge plus. We're renovating an existing building instead of knocking it down, we recycled 75% of the debris from the selective demolition we did do. We're installing a covered bike rack. We're not irrigating the plantings. Our stormwater is captured, filtered and released slowly into the watershed to avoid overwhelming streams.

The second area where we've made progress is insulation. We're replacing the old single-pane windows with insulated units. We've increased insulation in the roof and used a spray-on foam insulation in the exterior walls to increase R-value and more importantly cut drafts. We're insulating heating pipes and domestic hot water pipes.We've insulated all interior walls and the ceiling above the basement to improve acoustic performance. We installed special heat exchangers on the shower drain lines so as to capture wasted heat energy before it goes down the drain and into the sewer system.

Solar heating and electrical generation were not feasible in our location and we didn't have the money for a geo-thermal but our major mechanical equipment is substantially more efficient than today's standards. Hanover doesn't provide natural gas so we installed the highest efficiency condensing oil boiler we could find. Our refrigerator is Energy Star certified, as is our freezer and even our beer cooler. We've removed the many window-shaker air conditioners and installed an energy-star central system on the third floor only.

We've used low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints and adhesives to improve air quality both during construction and after occupancy. Carpets and millwork will off-gas prior to installation. We're re-using the 80-year-old wood floors wherever we can. In the basement we used stained concrete instead of vinyl tiles to remove certain toxins altogether. We don't use CFC-based refrigerants.

All rooms will have user controlled access to fresh air (i.e. windows that open) and user-controlled access to adequate light (i.e. light switches). 90% of spaces will have daylight and views to the outside. We'll use occupancy sensors in closets and similar rooms to ensure that energy is not wasted by lights burning all night. We're using high-efficiency flurescent bulbs. Our exterior light fixtures are fully hooded in accordance with the "Dark Skies" program to reduce light pollution.

We'll have a recycling program.

The new Zete will be considerably more sustainable than the old house (although that's not saying much), and it will compare favorably to newly-constructed dorms at Dartmouth and elsewhere. Zete's layout and building systems were cutting-edge when it was built in 1927 and we're proud to put the new Zete on the cutting edge of sustainability for 2009 while maintaining the historic bones of the old house.

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