September 30, 2014

Stone Hall Achieves LEED Platinum

The renovation work at Stone Hall updates an 80 year-old building for the 21st century. A new feature is a terrace designed to create an outdoor gathering space for students beyond the new common room and social corridor on the building's lower level, which was previously under-utilized space. 
© Michael Moran/OTTO

The renewed Stone Hall, a student residence that forms part of Harvard University's Quincy House, recently received a LEED Platinum rating, the highest level of sustainable building certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. As the first in a series of House renewal projects at Harvard, Stone Hall sets an important benchmark for the 2.5 million square feet of renovations that will follow. In addition to meeting ambitious sustainability goals, the renewal preserves Stone Hall's historic architectural character and the "House culture" of the 80 year-old residence.

In the heating-driven climate of Cambridge, Massachusetts, the design achieves energy savings via new efficient systems and thermal upgrades to the building envelope that reduce heating energy by 34% over ASHRAE 90.1. Mechanical cooling is limited to common areas, with student rooms relying on insulation, natural ventilation, and ceiling fans.  
The renovation also reduces the stormwater burden for Stone Hall and neighboring sites. Stormwater outflow has been relocated from an overburdened line to one with excess capacity, and the project makes use of a water re-use tank to collect roof and site run-off. This stormwater system treats and re-uses the water for toilet flushing, directing water to the sanitary system rather than to the Charles River. Lawn panels are irrigated entirely with water from the re-use tank, while other areas are planted with native species that require no irrigation.  
More than a year of building monitoring informed the design of Stone Hall, including an intensive survey of existing construction and condition, in-wall sensors to gather temperature and humidity data, and groundwater monitoring. Design-phase test mock-ups included comparison of options for perimeter wall insulation/air barrier assemblies as well as comparison of eight different window replacement strategies to evaluate historic match and to test for air and water infiltration.  
Much of the building's sustainability comes from the re-use of the 80 year-old structure, along with re-purposing unused spaces, preserving 95% of the structure and envelope, and housing the same number of students within the original volume while providing more privacy and new social spaces. Enhanced daylighting and views, reduced potable water usage, and reduced electricity usage are among the other sustainable aspects of the design. 
The Harvard Energy and Facilities case study for Stone Hall is posted here.