Emory University’s student center is the most energy-efficient building on campus


The new student center at Emory University is considered the most energy-efficient building on the Atlanta campus.

The environmentally friendly design and construction of the Emory Student Center has received the university’s first LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council,

The platinum designation recognizes Emory’s commitment to energy- and resource-efficient construction practices that help reduce stress on the environment, says Ciannat Howett, director of Emory Sustainability Initiatives.

“The student center is an important addition to Emory’s portfolio of over 3 million gross square feet of certified green building space, solidifying Emory’s place as a national leader in sustainable building design,” Howett says.

The center has numerous green features:

•A system of 400-foot-deep geothermal wells dug into a nearby athletic field provides some 700 tons of heating and cooling capacity.

•The facility uses chilled beams and a customized air displacement system to help with climate control.

•A rooftop solar water heating system provides about 40% of the building’s hot water needs.

•Large-scale ceiling fans help maintain comfort.

•Low-flow faucets and dual-flush toilets aid water conservation.

•An outdoor plaza doubles as a green roof and reduces storm water runoff.

•High-performance glass windows that surround the building reduce solar gain and glare.

•Sensors in windows help with “daylight harvesting” — if the daylight is illuminating interior spaces sufficiently, the LED light fixtures automatically turn off.

The facility provides a central location for student services. It also has a large multipurpose space, a recreation lounge, a convenience store, a coffee shop and open spaces for studying, socializing and collaboration.

“A primary goal of the Emory Student Center is to serve as an all-campus nexus that brings us together as a campus family,” says David Clark, associate vice president of Campus Life. “It’s about building community for students, faculty, staff and guests — for all members of our university family.”

The building opened in May 2019.

The architects are Duda | Paine Architects and MHTN Architects.

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