Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Saint Xavier University students move into new green residence hall

Hall’s eco-friendly design blends comfort and sustainability

Chicago (Sept. 3, 2008) More than 100 Saint Xavier University students recently moved into a new environmentally friendly residence hall at SXU’s Chicago campus, located at 3700 W. 103rd St.

The 36,664 square-foot residence hall is the sixth co-ed residence hall at the Chicago campus. In an Oct. 15 ceremony, the University will officially name the building after Mother Mary Agatha O’Brien, R.S.M., in recognition of her founding role as one of the original Chicago Sisters of Mercy. O’Brien was the first superior of the Sisters of Mercy who originally came to Chicago from Ireland in 1846. She was 24 at the time.

The hall was built to LEED Gold Environmental Standards as set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council. Last year, SXU’s Arthur Rubloff Hall became the first university building in the state of Illinois to receive the coveted LEED Gold designation from the U.S. Green Building Council for environmentally friendly design elements.

The new hall was designed to use both natural and mechanical ventilation, and a 50-foot high circular glass stair tower draws tempered air to assist in summer night pre-cooling and winter heating. This concept improves building energy efficiency and occupant comfort.
The building uses 100 percent “Green-e” Power from mixed renewable energy products to carbon offset all electrical energy consumed in the residence. The roof features a solar reflection system, and the rain garden filters roof water runoff.

The indoor air quality in the student rooms is significantly above American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Inc. (ASHRAE) standards. All student rooms have windows that can be opened to promote natural ventilation air patterns, harvest natural daylight and allow beautiful views of the Saint Xavier campus, providing all students with a closer connection to nature.

The architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz and Associates provided designs for the building. The firm designed three previous residence halls for Saint Xavier, including Rubloff. The construction management firm is Henry Bros. Co. Civil engineering was conducted by Terra Civil Engineering. Environmental Systems Design, Inc. provided a mechanical engineering design.

Last spring, ASHRAE presented Saint Xavier University and Environmental Systems Design, Inc. with Chapter and Regional Engineering Technology Awards for Rubloff Hall. The awards recognized achievements in the design of new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

A leader in green practices, Saint Xavier is a member of the Illinois Sustainable University Compact, which has pledged to accomplish multiple environmentally sound goals by Dec. 31, 2010. These goals include energy purchases from renewable sources, reduced carbon emissions, and requiring green building practices for all new construction. More recently, SXU became the first Chicago university to sign the Presidents Climate Commitment, joining 557 other schools nationwide in a pledge to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.


Contact: Rick Ducat
773-298-3325 or

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