College Planning & Management

APR 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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Facilities PHOTOS COURTESY OF UNITY COLLEGE C AMPUS SPACES Passive House, Actively Green Unity College's TerraHaus advances the passive house standard for college housing. BY JE S SE P Y LE S AND DOUG FOX U NITY COLLEGE IN CENTRAL Maine is a small liberal arts college with a big voice in the national sustainability conversation. We take seriously our leadership role in higher education and across sectors, preparing our students for leadership roles of their own in a changing world. From our unique sustainability science focus throughout the curriculum, to our first-in-the-nation commitment to divest our endowment from fossil fuels, we aim to model viable approaches to sustainability education that improve learning, engage the community, and decrease environmental impact. This approach to sustainability informs our planning and campus building efforts as well. In recent years we've undertaken several infrastructure projects that ad- vance green building and renewable energy well beyond our campus borders, working with pioneers in the field to demonstrate the viability of these groundbreaking approaches. In 2008 we partnered with Bensonwood Homes and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to build the first LEED Platinum, net-zero energy residence for a college president: the Unity House. We're the first college in Maine to finance a solar energy project through a unique power purchase agreement (PPA) with ReVision Energy. Now, Unity College is home to another first, the TerraHaus. When it was completed in August of 2011, the TerraHaus opened as the first college or university residence hall built to the Passive House standard, one of the strictest building energy performance standards in the world. After nearly two years housing Unity College students, TerraHaus has not only lived up to its energy-efficient billing, but last year received the official designation of Certified Passive House by The Passive House Institute US of Urbana, IL. At its most basic, Passive House certification demands that a building uses 90 percent less energy for space heating than a similar building in the same climate. TerraHaus was designed and built by GO Logic Homes of Belfast, ME, with landscape design services by Ann Kearsley Design of Portland, ME, and significant input from students, faculty, and staff. The integrated design approach to TerraHaus ensured that Unity's sustainability values and educational goals were primary considerations in the development and construction of the house. The 2,100-sq.-ft. residence is modeled to APRIL 2013 / COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT 23

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