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HorizonVillage_059_squareTwo years. Two of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh newest buildings. Two examples of architectural and engineering “Gold.”

UW Oshkosh’s newest residence hall building — Horizon Village — has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Horizon Village’s distinction puts the residence hall at the top of a short list of buildings in the New North region, as well as in the state, to reach a LEED Gold status. There are fewer than 10 Gold certified buildings amongst the major cities of the New North region.

“Sustainability is infused in everything we do at UW Oshkosh,” Chancellor Richard Wells said. “It is part of our campus planning. It is part of our transformed general education program, launching this fall. It is an element in each and every one of our public-private community partnerships. Without question, we have made and will continue to make sustainability a fundamental component of construction projects on our campus.”

Horizon Village, a 340-bed residence hall featuring apartment-style living suites was opened to students in the fall of 2012. The building, funded through student-approved fees, includes two- and four-bedroom suites, shared living rooms, kitchenettes, private bathrooms and in-suite storage spaces.

The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. The organization provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. To date, there are more than 14,000 LEED-certified commercial properties.

To determine LEED status, buildings are awarded points in a variety of areas including site selection, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor air quality and innovation in design.

UW Oshkosh’s Sage Hall, the institution’s newest academic building, which opened in fall 2011, also achieved LEED Gold certification, making Horizon Village and Sage Hall the only two buildings with a Gold designation in Oshkosh.

“To now have two of the fewer than 10 Gold LEED buildings in the New North’s main urban centers on the UW Oshkosh campus really demonstrates how hard we push ourselves to lessen our impact on the earth,” Wells said. “Meanwhile, we are simultaneously ensuring these projects demonstrate another kind of sustainability — providing thousands of family-sustaining jobs for construction workers as our campus evolves and expands to provide our students a high-quality educational home.”

At one point during the project’s build-out, an average of approximately 80 people per day were working on site at Horizon Village. A diverse team helped UW Oshkosh initiate and oversee the construction and bring the environmentally friendly, energy efficient and architecturally appealing building to life. The primary design and construction team included architects/engineers Berners-Schober Associates, Inc. of Green Bay and VOA Associates of Chicago, with  general contracting by Miron Construction of Neenah.  Berners-Schober and VOA also collaborated with UW Oshkosh on Sage Hall.

“A lot of the credit for this achievement goes to the faculty, staff, students and administration at UW Oshkosh,” said Ian Griffiths, project manager and sustainability coordinator for Berners-Schober, the project’s Green Bay-based green architectural firm. “Their deep commitment to sustainability on campus and in the classroom, and their intentional direction early on in this project’s life, ensured every partner involved in the Horizon Village project all would strive to dramatically lessen the Residence hall’s impact on the earth in so many ways.”

Horizon Village features several eco-friendly elements, including a green roof, a geothermal ground-source heat pump for heating and cooling, geothermal hot water production and a designated area for interior bicycle storage. Additionally, the limestone façade from the former Clemans Hall (formerly on the site of Horizon) was recycled for reuse in the fireplace surround in the student lounge.  Both of UW Oshkosh’s newest buildings on campus –Horizon and Sage—also support the University’s sustainability commitment by optimizing natural lighting opportunities, incorporating exterior open spaces, providing views of green roof plantings and utilizing solar energy.

“Horizon Village is the result of a lot of thought, guidance and investment by the members of our UW Oshkosh community who call it home — our students,” Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Petra Roter said. “Their vision helped create not only a modern, comfortable and convenient place to support their educational journeys at UW Oshkosh, but also one more architecturally striking and environmentally responsible building in this community and region that will last generations, helping advance our students for decades to come. The Gold LEED designation is a really testament to our students’ deep commitment to sustainability.”

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