WMU Western Heights Residence Halls Achieve LEED Gold For Green Design

Camille Thompson
Jun 12, 2017 5:54:24 PM

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PBA Provided MEP Engineering and Architectural Lighting Design for First "Pod Style" Residence Halls in Michigan

Peter Basso Associates, Michigan’s largest MEP consulting-only organization, provided MEP engineering design and architectural lighting design services for the $48 million Western Michigan University's Western Heights housing complex in Kalamazoo, MI, that recently achieved LEED Gold by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

The new residence halls feature two 4-story, Y-shaped buildings that are capable of housing 740 students. Design aspects focused on 'building community' by creating various gathering spaces where students could congregate in a comfortable home-like atmosphere. Each floor houses 30-35 students and is divided into three seperate "pods" or "houses" complete with a kitchen, and television lounge area.

MEP green design features include:

  • Equipment and systems designed for reduced life cycle costs, durability and ease of maintenance,
  • Fans and pumps that utilize premium efficiency motors; including a distribution pumping system that employs variable flow control and variable frequency drives,
  • A micro-processor based building management system (BMS) with direct digital controls,
  • A mechanical ventilation systems that utilizes energy recovery,
  • A heat exchanger/cooling tower closed loop heat pump system for heating and cooling,
  • Occupancy sensors for common areas such as conference rooms, fitness area, and public restrooms that  turn off lights and reset room temperatures automatically when no occupants are present, and
  • Restroom plumbing fixtures that utilize low water flow plumbing fixtures to minimize water usage. 
Amenities within the new halls are strategically located in communal spaces to encourage students to have more interpersonal interactions with their peers rather than only spending time in their rooms communicating through social media on their phones, tablets or computers.

More about Peter Basso Associates

Peter Basso Associates (PBA) excels at highly technical, challenging projects, and our in-depth knowledge of best practices extends across multiple markets. Recognized as a leader in mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineering, PBA is at the forefront of application of new technology. We focus on cost-effective solutions that pay returns over the life of the facility, balancing performance with cost. In 2015, PBA celebrated its 25th anniversary. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, the firm also has an office in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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