Hamilton Holmes Residence Hall is the newest building to become Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified, the University announced last week.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council’s website, LEED is a program that provides a form of third-party verification of newly-constructed “green” buildings. To achieve certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve varying levels of certification.

The building is the fourth residence hall on Emory’s campus to receive the certification. Other LEED gold-certified residence halls include Few, Evans and Longstreet-Means. Meanwhile, Turman Hall is LEED-silver certified, and the LEED gold-certified Goizueta Business School was the first building on campus to receive this honor in 2005.

The certification, which was developed by the Green Building Council, is intended to help building owners and operators develop and implement strategies that are both environmentally-friendly and resourceful, according to the council’s website.

Hamilton Holmes, a 37,868-square-foot building, has implemented many initiatives to receive the certification, ranging from energy and water conservation to community connectivity, according to an Aug. 28 University press release.

One of Holmes’ initiatives is a gray-water reclamation system, in which water is recycled and reused in toilets again.

“I am thrilled the Hamilton received LEED Gold status, surpassing the University’s goal of LEED silver for all new buildings,” said college sophomore Bryce Robertson, Residence Hall Association (RHA) vice president of advocacy. “I think it reaffirms our goals for sustainability while still creating world-class residential experiences.”

The council’s website explains that the LEED scoring system is based out of 100 points and focuses on five major categories: sustainable sights, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. However, an extra six points can be earned for innovation in design and another four for regional priority.

To earn a gold status, buildings must receive a score between 60 and 79, which can only be topped by platinum, which is an 80 or higher. Currently, no Emory building has platinum status.

The University is also now exploring the feasibility of Alabama Residence Hall becoming a LEED-certified building after finishing its two-phase renovation, said Andrea Trinklein, the assistant vice president and executive director of Residence Life and Housing.

“Going green is something we should all strive for, and by doing the little things, as a university, we can achieve our goal,” said Robertson.

He added that maintaining a green campus starts with small gestures like giving freshmen reusable water bottles instead of plastic ones during Orientation.

– By David Ehrlich