Roughly one year after opening, the Vue53 apartments have achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification and full occupancy, according to a statement released on October 19.
LEED is a rating system used by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit that awards buildings for sustainable initiatives. The LEED rating system is quantified with points across categories including air quality and energy use. The highest certification a building can achieve is Platinum, followed by Gold, Silver, and then simply Certified.
Vue53 has taken numerous steps to create an environmentally-conscious living space, including embedding 50 percent of parking within the building to reduce its surface area. In addition, the material used in construction was manufactured from within a 500-mile radius to reduce the carbon footprint. Half of the net roof area is a green roof planted with local vegetation to offset the heat island effect, whereby cities are hotter than the surrounding rural area due to modified land use and energy waste. The parts of the roof not covered in plants are made up of high-reflectance roofing material to reduce heat absorption.
Vue53 does not foresee earning a Gold or Platinum certification in the near future, but will continue its current sustainable practices. “Once [the building] gets certification there’s no really changing it,” said Francisco Lopez de Arenosa, communications coordinator of architecture firm Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, which designed Vue53. “This is the maximum we could get with our budget.”
This year, returning University students were offered the option to live in the 13-story building. Of the building’s 267 total units, the University leased 45 apartments in July for students and faculty, according to DNAInfo.