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University of Colorado Dorm Earns LEED Platinum

In a Rocky Mountain community where caring for the environment comes quite naturally, the University of Colorado in Boulder (CU-Boulder) has opened the doors of a new six-story residence hall, which suits the lifestyle of eco-friendly students by allowing them to “walk the talk” through innovative residential academic programs.  Williams Village North is a dormitory complex and is also the nation’s first university residence hall to receive the highest designation under the U.S Green Building Council’s LEED rating system—a Platinum certification.

Design-Build Energy Savings

Incorporating such innovative energy misers as a solar-powered domestic hot water system to harness renewable energy was the brainchild of Aller-Lingle-Massey Architects P.C., the Architect of Record that teamed with Mackey Mitchell Architects and general contractor, the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company to win the design-build competition for the $35-million facility.  Working closely with electrical designer BCER Engineers, Bergelectric performed many of the core services that makes the Platinum rating possible—including installation of power, interior lighting and site lighting renovations to enhance energy efficiency.

Teaching by Example: Conserving Electricity

Williams Village North’s 500 residents can take advantage of the living-learning experience through courses offered in their own dorm without ever leaving the building.  Approximately 8,000 square feet of the facility is reserved for seven smart classrooms featuring wireless internet and teleconferencing capabilities which enable environmentally-conscious students to reach out in real time to others either across the CU-Boulder campus or around the world.  According to the Bergelectric Project Manager, “Every aspect of the electrical installation throughout this trailblazing academic facility has energy conservation in mind—from the LED light fixtures located in all the corridors to occupancy sensors installed in each of the offices and classrooms.”

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Passive or Conscious: Everyone Saves

If residents forget to “hit the switch,” vacancy sensors located in all dorm rooms will shut lights off when no one is at home.  We’ve even tackled the issue of energy draw from appliances like phone chargers, computers and coffee pots that continue to use power when they’re plugged in but turned off,” noted Bergelectric General Foreman Dan Ratzloff.  By installing “phantom load” switches in residence rooms, occupants can cut power to all receptacles upon leaving with the flick of one switch, which will ultimately save hundreds of watt-hours.

Expanding opportunities to save electricity while creating a little healthy competition, Berg crews have installed electric submeters on each floor and in each wing of the 129,000-sf facility.  These submeters allow students to monitor their own consumption and compete for the lowest usage.

129,000  Square Feet

Electrical Construction Cost
$3.4 Million

June 2009 – March 2012

Delivery Method
Design Assist


Other Team Members
Whiting-Turner Construction
Mackey Mitchell Architects
BCER Engineering, Inc.

Berg Regional Office




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