Campus Initiatives: Buildings: Global Neighborhood

The Global Neighborhood houses 600 students in 5 residential buildings. The Global Commons building contains lounge and study space as well as the Global Education Center, Core Curriculum faculty offices and the Neighborhood Office for Residence Life. The Commons also has a large gathering space – the Great Hall. Per the University’s Green Building Policy, the buildings were designed and constructed to be high performance sustainable buildings using the LEED program and received LEED Silver certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is an internationally recognized benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

Project Summary

The Global Neighborhood is one of seven residential neighborhoods. Construction began in 2012 and was completed in phases, with the final phase concluding in August 2014. The six buildings total over 225,000 square feet and contain the only 4-story building on campus. The neighborhood is in the north section of campus located along Lake Mary Nell between Lakeside Dining Hall and Rhodes Stadium.

Sustainable Sites

The Global Neighborhood is located within walking distance of many commonly used buildings on campus, such as Lakeside Dining Hall, Moseley Center, Koury Athletic Center and Belk Library. Students can also access the Biobus system within a short walk. The project site was designed to provide green space and pedestrian walkways to encourage the use of outdoor space. There are bike racks for residents to store their bikes. The nearby parking lot has spaces designated for low-emitting fuel-efficient vehicles. LEVs include non-hybrid and hybrid models that have been classified as Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) by the California Air Resources Board or have achieved a minimum green score of 40 on the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) annual vehicle rating guide. To learn more about LEVs and to find out if you drive one visit A LEV permit is required to park in these spaces and can be obtained from the Traffic Office.                                          

A stormwater management plan has been implemented to protect nearby streams from excessive erosion through stream channel protection and quantity control strategies. Best management practices have been utilized to filter stormwater.

Water Efficiency

All of the plumbing fixtures in these buildings are low-flow. The faucets use 1.0 gallons of water per minute. The toilets have green, dual-flush handles. An upward flush uses 1.1 gallons of water and a downward flush uses 1.6 gallons. There are also low-flow shower heads. These fixtures are expected to reduce the building’s potable water usage by about 40%.    




The landscaping around the building is designed to minimize the need for irrigation. When it is needed, the automatic irrigation system is supplied with stormwater collected in the ponds located on campus, including Lake Mary Nell.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient systems were integral in the design and construction of the Global Neighborhood buildings. The buildings are at least 12% more energy efficient than buildings that meet the standard building energy code. Among the energy efficiency strategies there are variable speed drives, energy recovery wheels, variable air volume air handling units, high efficiency condensing type boilers, dual level light switching, light occupancy sensors, efficient lighting systems and instantaneous water heaters. There is metering for utilities, which allows for improved monitoring and tracking of consumption. Electricity usage will be available through the Building Dashboard. One will be able to view and compare total use vs. lighting use, plug use and HVAC use.

Materials and Resources

During construction, over 90% of the waste was recycled or reused, which kept it out of the landfill.
In addition, building materials with recycled content (pre and post consumer) were used, about 30% based on cost. Using recycled content reduces the need for virgin materials. Specific examples include the reinforcing steel, which contains 81% post-consumer and 19% pre-consumer recycled content, and the drywall, which is 98% pre-consumer recycled content.

To support the regional economy and reduce the impact of transportation, regional materials were used as much as possible. In the LEED system, regional materials are those that are extracted, harvested, recovered and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site. Based on cost, over 30% of the building materials are regional. Specific examples include the concrete, steel and drywall. In addition, most of the furniture used in the buildings was manufactured in North Carolina. The study tables in the Great Hall were made from Elon oak trees.



In the residence halls, recycling bins are located in the lobby of the buildings, and there is a designated recycling/trash room on the first floor of each building for resident recycling and trash. The Global Commons building has recycling bins located throughout. Elon’s recycling program accepts all kinds of paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metals (aluminum beverage cans, steel food cans). Other items are recycled in designated areas on campus such as batteries, printer cartridges and small electronic items.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Providing excellent indoor environmental quality was another essential component in the design and construction of Global Neighborhood as it contributes to the health and productivity of building occupants. Great care was taken during construction to ensure the buildings and systems were kept clean and free of contaminants benefiting the construction workers and the eventual building occupants and users. During construction, duct work was kept covered to prevent debris from accumulating, and a special sweeping compound was used to minimize dust.

The adhesives, sealants, paints and carpets used in the buildings contain low amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  Low VOC products allow for better air quality during and after construction. The entry way mats also help provide good indoor air quality by preventing dust and other contaminants on shoes from entering the building.

Some of the furniture pieces in the buildings are GREENGUARD certified, which means they have been tested by a third party and verified to contain low amounts of chemicals and particle emissions and have met acceptable indoor air quality guidelines and standards. GREENGUARD certification is a voluntary program used primarily by commercial/institutional furniture manufactures. Other sustainability-related certification programs for furniture were also used, including BIFMA’s level and SCS Indoor Advantage.

Innovation and Design Process

This category within LEED recognizes exception performance and innovative strategies not covered in previous categories.

The University's green cleaning program is used in Global Neighborhood. The program benefits the building occupants and maintenance personnel. Green cleaning improves air quality, occupant health and well-being and is better for the environment. The program includes (but is not limited to) the use of Green Seal certified or equivalent cleaning products that have low chemical content, bulk dispensing systems to reduce packaging waste, microfiber cloths to reduce use of disposables and vacuum cleaners with high-filtration systems to contain particulate matter.

There is a Sustainable Living Guide for residents of the Global Neighborhood with tips to reduce one's environmental impact in terms of power and water consumption, waste management, transportation and purchasing. It also includes information about LEED and the sustainable features of the buildings. This Guide is available online from the Sustainability web site and the Residence Life web site. Limited hard copies of the Guide were produced.

The Global Neighborhood buildings will be added to the online real-time electricity monitoring system (Building Dashboard). The following items will be monitored and displayed: electricity (total consumption and broken down by HVAC, lighting and plug loads), water and natural gas. The system will allow occupants as well as anyone else to view and track the utility consumption in the buildings. Providing this information is part of the educational program for this building as is this web site and providing tours. If you would like a tour focusing on the sustainable features of these buildings, please contact us.