By Jordan Fox
For The Diamondback

Senior Kate Brownstein has lived in a dorm all four years of her college career — and that gives her an even greater appreciation for life in Prince Frederick Hall.

The two-year-old building is "less wasteful" and "a nice place to end if you are going to stay in dorms," the biology and psychology major said, adding that she sees "compost bins everywhere on the floor."

And Brownstein isn't the only one to take note. The dorm is the latest University of Maryland building to earn a LEED Gold rating for sustainability, this university's sustainability office's announced this month.

By state mandate, every building on the campus has to be at least Silver certified, but "if we're lucky and it's just the right building and the right location, we get Gold from time to time," said Bill Olen, Facilities Management's interim executive director of planning  and construction.

LEED certification is a process in which buildings earn points for sustainability and resource efficiency and, based on the number of points achieved, will then be given Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum status, according to the U.S. Green Building Council website.

To earn a Gold rating, a building has to score at least 60 points out of 110 in categories such as water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and innovation. Prince Frederick Hall has an indoor bicycle storage unit, access to public transportation and a white reflective roof that keeps buildings cooler and reduces energy use, said Brian Snyder, Residential Facilities' associate director of projects.

"We're really proud of that building," Snyder said. "We think the students really enjoy it and we look forward to building another one."

Prince Frederick Hall joins Oakland Hall, University House, the Pocomoke Building, Knight Hall, Commons 7, the Physical Sciences Complex and Chincoteague Hall as Gold certified. But the dorm is unique because of a focus on energy and water efficiency, Olen said, and "a lot of the materials on the site that were demolished ended up being recycled."

"It's a combination of that, with energy being one of the strongest factors about the efficiency of the design and the installation of the systems," Olen said.

Sophomore J.T. Blodgett, an electrical engineering major living in Prince Frederick Hall, said he enjoys the extra space his dorm offers, and knows he can only set the thermostat "at certain times and certain ranges."

Being able to control the heat and air conditioning, as well as the use of LED lights, is a main contributor to the energy efficiency of the building, Snyder said.

"Having the [smart] control in Prince Frederick [allows] the building to maximize and minimize temperature," Snyder said. "It's like when you leave your home you can turn down your heat or air conditioning depending on the season; when you're occupying it you turn it to what you like. We can do that … and save energy."

Residential Facilities is planning to renovate Dorchester Hall, and had a design kickoff meeting Oct. 18. They hope to continue the sustainable legacy at the university, Snyder said.

"We're so early in design we're not sure where we're going with it yet," Snyder said.