Neuman speaks to “Green” students

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Just about all developers these days want their buildings to be “sustainable,” from Downtown luxury condos to Habitat for Humanity low-income homes. So it’s no surprise that Charlottesville’s biggest developer, UVA, is getting more and more into the trend. UVA Architect David Neuman discussed the University’s current projects at an October 16 meeting of Green Grounds, a campus organization devoted to sustainable building and maintenance practices.
After tying ever-invoked Thomas Jefferson to environmental design (“I could go on at length about the sustainable aspects of the academical village, but I’m sure you’ve all thought about that”), Neuman talked about six new buildings in the works: two dorms, a cancer center, a medical education center, a nursing school, and the South Lawn project.
Neuman predicted that the Board of Visitors (BOV) will soon require Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for all new buildings. He said he will present information about such a requirement to the BOV in the coming months and hopes they will vote on it by January or February.
“We’re going to try to start to market [LEED certification] to the donor community,” said Neuman, who estimated cost of base LEED certification at $150,000-$200,000. He believes the current projects would qualify for at least base LEED certification, and that he is working for the South Lawn project to achieve the more rigorous “silver” LEED certification.
He also briefly addressed the aesthetics of the designs, which he sees in part as a compromise. “I think if we start to look at some of our newer buildings, you’re going to see things are changing,” said Neuman. “They’re going to look a lot more, what I like to call ‘of’ the University of Virginia rather than trying to ‘be’ the University of Virginia. Some are more conservative, I’m sure, than you might have necessarily preferred if you’re in architecture school. If you’re not in architecture school, there are a lot of people that would prefer them.”
Most students seemed pleased with Neuman’s efforts, complementing the attention to energy-efficient design. They asked about some specific ways for UVA to become more sustainable, such as reusing materials from demolitions, and offered to help in whatever way possible.
Neuman returned some love: “Your voice is being heard.”

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