By Michele Tallarita ’12
The College’s newest student living community, the Grossman House for Global Perspectives, has been awarded LEED-CI Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED, or leadership in energy and environmental design, is an internationally recognized standard that promotes sustainability in building design, construction, and operation.
A former fraternity house built in 1915, Grossman is a milestone project for the College and the result of an ongoing commitment to sustainability principles. The building accomplished Gold certification because of its many practical strategies and solutions for achieving water savings, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and other areas of sustainability.
“Grossman House is already a special place for living and learning,” says Mary Wilford-Hunt, director of facilities planning and construction. “The LEED-CI Gold Certification indicates that the building itself is special, too; it is a place where design innovation is on display every day.”
Renovated through the exceptional coordination of college leaders, architects, and engineers, Grossman House has high-efficiency bathrooms and low-flow kitchen and bathroom faucets, energy-saving light fixtures, and a stove, refrigerator, microwave, and washer with high ratings for energy conservation. The windows reflect heat, reducing the energy needed to heat and cool the building. Furthermore, building materials were purchased only from sustainable and green manufacturers, and during demolition all steel, aluminum, wood, and concrete were recycled.
Grossman House also has a water-efficient landscape design and contains bicycle storage facilities inside.
Students who live in Grossman House design their own programming to explore globalization and what it means to live in a multicultural world. About a third of the residents are international students, a third are students who have traveled abroad, and a third are interested in a study abroad experience. In the building’s large library on the first floor, residents and other members of the campus community gather for special events and discussions. Last semester, they hosted a dinner with Papermoon Puppet Theater, a group of artists from Indonesia, after its performance on campus.
Since its renovation, Grossman House has served the campus not only as a force of global awareness but also as an educational resource on sustainable design—a significant feat for a building originally constructed almost 100 years ago. It is named in honor of Richard A. Grossman ’64 and his wife, Rissa Welt Grossman.
“It’s been said that ‘the greenest building is one you don’t have to build,’” says Wilford-Hunt. “By adaptively reusing an existing building, we were able to bring this striking old gem in the heart of the Lafayette campus back to life in a sustainable way.”