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Yale University breaks ground on nation's largest Living Building student housing complex

University Buildings

Yale University breaks ground on nation's largest Living Building student housing complex

The net-positive residential complex is Bruner/Cott’s second Living Building Challenge project.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | December 8, 2023
Yale University breaks ground on the nation's largest Living Building student housing complex
Rendering: Bruner/Cott Architects

A groundbreaking on Oct. 11 kicked off a project aiming to construct the largest Living Building Challenge-certified residence on a university campus. The Living Village, a 45,000 sf home for Yale University Divinity School graduate students, “will make an ecological statement about the need to build in harmony with the natural world while training students to become ‘apostles of the environment’,” according to Bruner/Cott, which is leading the design team that includes Höweler + Yoon Architecture and Andropogon Associates.

Designed to achieve 24.4 EUI (energy use intensity per sf annually), the facility will be net-positive for energy. Solar roof tiles and a photovoltaic canopy over a parking lot will generate 310,000 kWh of electricity, or 105% of the power the residence consumes averaged out over a year, according to Jason Jewhurst, AIA, Principal, Bruner/Cott.

The power system will have a net-metered connection to the grid. “We expect to generate surplus energy for six months of the year,” Jewhurst says. Ducted air-source heat pumps will provide heating and cooling. Fresh air will be supplied by a separate dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS).

A water reclamation system with a capacity for about 900,000 gallons a year will treat greywater for reuse in toilets, laundry, and drip irrigation, Jewhurst says. Underground cisterns will collect rainwater runoff from the roof.

Below-market-rate residential units will range from micro studios to one and two-bedroom apartments. A single-loaded corridor layout ensures that all rooms have views of a central courtyard. Common areas will include lounges, study nooks, and a community kitchen that will host celebrations and events. Outdoor amenities on the 4.5-acre site include an amphitheater, community terrace, and regenerative landscape over a former parking lot.

The superstructure will be assembled using low-carbon mass-timber and dimensional lumber. All building materials will meet the rigorous requirements of the Living Building Challenge’s materials petal that specifies products free of toxins and harmful chemicals.

Real-time water and energy usage monitors will provide residents and the university community with insight on sustainable buildings.

On the project team:
Owner and/or developer: Yale Divinity School
Design architect: Bruner/Cott Architects with Höweler + Yoon Architecture
Landscape Architect: Andropogon Associates
MEP engineer: van Zelm Engineers
Structural engineer: Silman

Yale University breaks ground on nation's largest Living Building student housing complex
Rendering: Bruner/Cott Architects
Yale University breaks ground on nation's largest Living Building student housing complex
Rendering: Bruner/Cott Architects
Yale University breaks ground on nation's largest Living Building student housing complex
Rendering: Bruner/Cott Architects
Yale University breaks ground on nation's largest Living Building student housing complex
Rendering: Bruner/Cott Architects

 

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