Stevens Institute of Technology‘s University Center Complex in Hoboken has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The largest construction project in Stevens’ history, the University Center Complex is the second building on campus, along with the Gateway Academic Center in 2020, to earn the LEED Gold certification. The distinction highlights the university’s mission to incorporate sustainable design and construction to address climate change.
“Originally, the UCC was intended to be a LEED Silver project,” Robert Maffia, vice president for facilities and operations, said. “But, through careful guidance and exemplary effort, we exceeded the campus standard. We made Gold with Gateway in 2020, and now we’ve made it again with the UCC. That’s the new bar now.”
The UCC’s Gold certification is the result of expert guidance and coordination to improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions, enhance resilience and create a healthier environment. Past efforts that showcase Stevens’ commitment to sustainability, beyond LEED Gold certification, include the Stevens TechPulse report: Green Energy Perceptions and Usage in 2022, and the university’s switch to using 100% renewable electricity in 2021.
“We do feel we have a responsibility to the planet,” Maffia said. “What’s even better is that our students embrace using green technology, so our commitment to sustainability is important to them, too.”
Highlights that contributed to the UCC’s LEED Gold Certification include:
- Materials and resources: The UCC was built using materials sourced within a 500-mile radius. Project construction managers were also careful with how they managed waste, minimizing what went to the landfill.
- Indoor environmental quality: The UCC is illuminated by LED lighting and natural daylight to reduce energy usage and improve efficiency. Enhanced air filtration systems also improve air quality performance, employing energy-efficient motors that circulate the air.
- Water efficiency and sustainable sites: In addition to having water-efficient, low-flow plumbing fixtures, the plaza between the two towers collects and drains rainwater into a 12,000-gallon underground cistern that stores it for reuse in the irrigation of the plantings around the UCC, thereby reducing overall water use. Other rainwater around the project is collected by green roofs, rain gardens and a bioretention planter, which captures and manages stormwater runoff.
- Energy and atmosphere: Occupancy sensors help optimize energy performance.
From the building’s first mention in 2012 as part of Stevens’ 2012-2022 strategic plan, “The Future. Ours to Create,” through its opening to residential students in August 2022, realizing the University Center Complex has been a 10-year, communitywide effort. The project broke ground in January 2019, after Richard Harries of the Class of 1958 and his wife, Carol Harries, made one of the largest single gifts to Stevens in university history to support the UCC.
The 395,000-square-foot facility features two residential towers that are 19 and 21 stories high and can house 1,000 students. The towers are connected by a state-of-the-art, three-story University Center that boasts conference rooms, food service centers, a game room, a gym and student study areas. The UCC has not only transformed campus, it’s also a spectacular addition to the Hoboken skyline and is visible from New York City.