By Grey Lee

815 Albany Street, Graduate Student Housing

This year AHA Consulting Engineers completed a number of LEED certified projects, including the LEED Gold Certified Graduate Student Housing Project for Boston University. Developed by the Fallon Company, and designed by Beacon Architectural Associates, the 84,000 sf, 9-story project houses over 200 graduate students in 104 2-bedroom suites. Construction was finished in 2012 with a budget of $33 million, or around $390 per sf. This is the first phase in a larger development project on 1.7-acres adjacent to the Boston University Medical Center. The project includes a 12,000 sf park, and over 400,000 sf of development comprised of three buildings and parking facilities.

AHA's role on the project as Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing engineers significantly enhanced innovation in energy efficiency, and helped the project achieve LEED Gold Certification. The project reduced potential water consumption by 40% through the installation of low-flow fixtures, and by harvesting rainwater for use in a high-efficiency irrigation system for native plantings, which in conjunction with permeable surfaces, helps reduce storm water runoff.


The building is 18% more energy efficient than required by code, thanks to high-efficiency building envelope, efficient heating and lighting, energy recovery, and regenerative-drive elevators. There are individual thermal controls in every space, including offices and commons space to help save energy when spaces are not in use. The building employs both natural and mechanical ventilation to meet ASHRAE requirements, which improves the indoor air quality while saving energy.

Other programs in the building include a gym, extensive bicycle storage in the basement, laundry, and the Little Sprouts child care and early childhood education center on the ground floor. All of these features combined make a great place for graduate students to live well while saving energy. The project earned a total of 60 points, you can see more details by checking out the LEED scorecard here.

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