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EcoDorm at Warren Wilson College

Energy efficiency, local materials, water conservation, and IAQ were all incorportated in the building

208 North West Lane Extension
Warren Wilson College
Swannanoa, NC 28815
Buncombe County

Click here for detailed contact information

36 bed dormitory

  • Owner: Warren Wilson College
  • Occupant: WWC students
  • Use/Occupancy: Residential
  • Construction: New
  • Completed: 2003
  • Size: 5K to 10K sq. ft.
    Under 1 acre

Site Conditions: Rural agricultural, Previously undeveloped land, Limited site disturbance, Limited building size, Supports use of bicycles, Supports pedestrian use

twilight constuction photo
twilight constuction photo
(Photo: Warner Photography)

Project Image Gallery
(Click on the thumbnail photo to enlarge and see caption.)
twilight constuction photo

Green building techniques, strategies, and technologies
(Click on the paperclip to view attached Power Point presentations, documents, and images.)

Quality management
  Technology Description Docs
  1   Lifecycle cost analysis Specific interior finish materials were reviewed using life cycle cost analysis (BEES)  
  2   Commissioning  
  3   Post commissioning monitoring Monitoring of water, gas, and electricity consumption as well as electricity production and temperature and humidity allows the building’s performance to be tracked over time. Displaying this information also allows the building to become a learning tool for students and the community.  
  4   Design team integration All members of the design team, including the Architect, General Contractor, Mechanical Engineer, product consultant, and a student and faculty committee were involved in the design phases of the project. Additional supporting documentation available
  5   Residential blower door/ductblaster testing Blower door test was performed to determine air tightness of the building envelope: 1.2 ACH @ 50 pascals  
  Technology Description Docs
  1   Permaculture Native and draught resistant plants were used surrounding the building. Edible plants are also incorporated into the surrounding site as well as minimizes grass requiring maintenance and mowing.  
  2   Rainwater collection & distribution A 10,000 gallon recycled train tanker car is used for roof rainwater collection. The water is then pumped back into the building, filtered and pressurized for use in toilets, urinals, and hose bibs for landscaping.  
  3   East & west shading Roof overhangs and existing vegetation provide shading for low angle sun on the east and west sides of the building.  
  4   Reflective roofing Recycled content steel roof with a light green color was used.  
  5   South facing orientation The EcoDorm is oriented 10 degrees from due south. Appropriate overhangs and trellises are used to prevent over heating in the summer and sun tempering in the winter.  
  6   Light pollution reduction Very minimal exterior lighting is used on the building and no site lighting is used.  
  Technology Description Docs
  1   Rainwater collection & distribution A 10,000 gallon recycled train tanker car is used for roof rainwater collection. The water is then pumped back into the building, filtered and pressurized for use in toilets, urinals, and hose bibs for landscaping.  
  2   Native plants  
  3   Drought tolerant plants  
  4   Waterless urinals  
  5   Composting toilets 2 Clivus M3 units were used and are sized to accomodate all of the students living in the building. Some code issues cause complications in use.  
  6   Low-flow fixtures All showers and faucets are low flow fixtures.  
  7   Water efficient appliances High efficiency Maytag clothes washers were used  
  Technology Description Docs
  1   Energy modeling software used  
  2   Superinsulation SIPs panels were used for all walls and ceiling. Walls: R-24 Ceiling R-38  
  3   High performance glazing Low-e argon filled casement windows  
  4   Motion/heat/light sensors occupancy and photo sensors are used to control lights in the bathrooms, stairwells, and exterior lighting.  
  5   Energy efficient appliances All appliances used are energy star rated. Additional supporting documentation available
  6   Highly efficient mechanical system Munchkin 92% efficient gas boilers w/ solar hot water preheat for domestic hot water and space heating.  
  7   Passive solar heating strategies 10 degrees of south orientation, concrete slab with ceramic tile as thermal mass, overhangs to prevent overheating. Additional supporting documentation available
  8   Passive cooling strategies Clerestory windows are operable and allow warm air to rise and escape, overhangs and all operable windows allow for passive cooling.  
  9   Thermal mass heat storage  
  10   Daylighting Additional supporting documentation available
  11   Solar domestic hot water  
  12   Photovoltaic energy Additional electricity not used in the buiding is pushed up stream to the next dormitory, so all energy produced is always used. A battery storage system was therefore not needed.  
  13   Building integrated photovoltaics PVs are used as shading devices over south facing windows  
  14   Solar thermal for space heating  
  15   Pre-design for future renewables A fuel cell can be added to the mechanical system in the future so waste hot water can be recaputered in the existing hotwater system.  
  16   Continuous metering  
  17   Distributed energy generation  
  18   Highly efficient lighting system All lighting is fluorescent. Additional supporting documentation available
  19   Energy recovery system Heat Recovery Ventilators are used in the fresh air system.  
  Technology Description Docs
  1   Designed for occupant recycling Recycling centers are incorporated on each floor.  
  2   Construction waste management plan Included in specifications.  
  3   Recycling of site debris  
  4   Recycling of construction/demolition waste Approximately 2,000 pounds of construction waste was diverted from the landfill and recycled.  
  5   Salvaged building materials used All interior trim, wainscoting, and kitchen cabinets were built from reclaimed oak fencing, campus beetle-kill white pine, and a fir deconstructed from a building on campus. Additional supporting documentation available
  6   Recycled materials used in wall Cellulose insulation was used for sound insulation. Additional supporting documentation available
  7   Recycled materials used in roofing  
  8   Recycled materials used in flooring 50% and 100% recycled ceramic tile was used as flooring. Additional supporting documentation available
  9   Recycled materials used in structural Salvaged glue lam beams were used at door headers.  
  10   Local material use Additional supporting documentation available
  11   Rapidly renewable material use  
  12   Non-toxic outdoor wood treatment Arsenic free pressure treated wood was used throughout.  
  13   Panelized construction system SIPs panels were used for walls and roof.  
  14   Recycled materials used in ceiling Recycled content drywall (95%) was used throughout the building. Additional supporting documentation available
Indoor environment
  Technology Description Docs
  1   Carbon dioxide monitoring  
  2   Controlled ventilation for fresh air Continuous controlled fresh air is distributed throughout the building and ducted through a heat recovery ventilator.  
  3   Construction IAQ strategies  
  4   Low-emitting adhesives Low-VOC paints, stains, and sealers were used throughout. Additional supporting documentation available
  5   Low-emitting paints & coatings Low-VOC paints, stains, and sealers were used throughout. Additional supporting documentation available
  6   Low-emitting flooring system Low toxic concrete sealer.  
  7   Natural ventilation strategies Operable clerestory windows are used to provide ventilation, high efficiency ceiling fans are used in every bedroom and living space.  
  8   Temperature/humidity monitoring  
  9   Daylighting Operable clerestory windows and glass transoms are used to distribute daylight throughout the building Additional supporting documentation available
  10   Achieved view in 90% of occupied space  
  11   Low maintenance materials  
Other Innovations
  Description Docs
1 - radiant slab heating - locally harvested wood siding - salvaged train tanker car for rain catchment system - grey water plumbed for future local treatment - expansion of PV system planned for future - PV electricity not used in the building is pushed up stream to the next dormitory  
   Contact Information
Specialty Contact Information
     Click on the specialty technology in the table above to see contact and other information
General Project Contact
     Duncan McPherson
Samsel Architects, P.A.
Phone: 828-253-1124

Relationship to the project:  Architect
Project Team
  Involvement Stage Name/Address Phone
1 Owner/developer Design/Construction Larry Modlin
cpo 6363, Warren Wilson College
PO Box 9000
Asheville, NC   28815
2 Architect Design/Construction Jim Samsel
Samsel Architects, P.A.
60 Biltmore Ave
Asheville, NC   28801
3 Engineer - structural Design Dan Mady
Mady Engineering
1357 Garren Creek Rd
Fairview, NC   28730
4 Engineer - mechanical Design/Construction Jeff Tiller
Jeff Tiller, PE and Associates
904 West King St.
Boone, NC   28607
5 Engineer - electrical Design Gus Sims
Sims Group
203 Short Coxe ave.
Asheville, NC   28801
6 Contractor - general Design/Construction Robin Woodward
Blue Ridge Energy Systems
28 Sourwood lane
Fletcher, NC   28732
7 Environmental Consultant Design David Tuch
Equinox Environmental Consultation
64 Biltmore Ave
Asheville, NC   28801
8 Materials Consulatant Design Cindy Meehan-Patton
Shelter Ecology
43 Pine Ridge Dr.
Asheville, NC   28804
(828) 225-2829

© 2003 NC Solar Center    Site design & construction by Prism Data Works