Transylvania University's 1-year-old Thomson Residence Hall earned Energy Star certification status last week after showing its success in energy efficiency.
The federal Energy Star program tracked the utility use and exhaust from the building before putting it in the prestigious category — joining a dorm at LaGrange College in Georgia as the only residence halls in the southeast to receive that designation.
Thomson Hall, which opened last fall, is a three-story building with 31 suites that uses geothermal heating and air conditioning. Its lighting system is 20 percent more efficient than code requirements and includes motion sensors in hallways and the laundry room.
Other environmentally friendly features include carpet with 15 percent recycled fiber, low-flow shower heads and a parking lot paved with asphalt that uses recycled materials.
In all, the building's efficiencies have prevented the release of 130 metric tons of carbon dioxide compared to most other similar-sized residence halls, according to emissions measurements taken by university engineers.
That savings is the equivalent of 24 average cars taken off the road annually, according to the university's statement.
The dorm has saved Transy $20,330 on utility bills over the past 12 months.