"The Pods" 72 bed residence hall opened in the fall of 2003. A 10,000 sq.ft., 48 bed addition to this original facility opened in the fall of 2005 as Central's first "Eco-Dorm".
The project team has earned a LEED ® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council for the "phase II" addition.
This project is the first LEED ® rated residential facility in the state of Iowa, and the 2nd LEED ® rated building.
A six workstation computer lab is available for all building residents. The materials incorporated into the Herman Miller furnishings have recycled content.
The original building's gathering space was equipped with a 37" LCD for educating residents about the addition's energy consumption and "green" features.
Building and site rainwater is diverted into two rain gardens which slowly absorb and purify storm water before releasing it to the local aquifer.
The roof of the covered bicycle storage facility is covered with thin-film solar panels that generate electricity from the sun, which is imported onto the building's electrical grid.
Four, two student resident rooms share a common living space, kitchenette, vanity / laundry, and two shower / toilet rooms.
A typical resident room. State of the art building automation allows for individual room temperature control and supplies fresh air via an energy recovery system.
Dual flush toilets and low flow shower heads conserve water resources in the toilet / shower rooms.
An image of the common lavatory / laundry space. Low flow aerators and Maytag Neptune laundry equipment are incorporated for water conservation.
Resident rooms feature cork poster walls and Ecologic furnishings made from rubberwood (rapidly renewable resources). - Pella triple glazed windows automatically stop air-conditioning units when opened.
The pod kitchettes feature a refrigerator, microwave, and countertops made from recycled paper and magazines. The cabinetry is made from Medite II, a formaldehyde free medium density fiberboard (MDF).
Two charging stations for electric vehicles are provided in the parking lot directly east of the Pods.
This section contains live data about the total PODS addition energy currently being consumed. It contains values for right now, this week, and this year. It also contains three floorplans for pods 119 & 120, 219 & 220, and 319 & 320. These PODS compete to see who is using the least amount of current energy consumption. Data values are measured in kilowatts andkilowatt hours.
The 1203 Independence POD Addition has earned a LEED® Gold Certification from the United States Building Council.
Central College is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1853 in Pella, Iowa. Central College has a solid reputation as a fine academic institution, promoting active learning across its curriculum while maintaining a residential component of student life that enhances the student’s experiential learning experience. Increasing enrollment and the desire for semi-independent honor housing available for students made new housing a priority on the campus, and led to the construction of the 1203 Independence Residence which opened in the fall of 2003. This 3 story, 16,000 sq.ft. facility (referred to as phase I by the design team) is home for 72 students occupying 9 individual living spaces that share common corridors, elevator, lounge, kitchen, public restrooms, and vending areas. Each individual living unit, referred to as “The Pods” by Central students, consist of four, two student sleeping rooms that surround a common living area. Each pod contains common toilet / shower / vanity spaces, as well as individual laundry and kitchenette areas.
Since the completion of phase I, Central’s enrollment continued to grow to where the need for even more campus beds became apparent in June of 2004. Given the popularity of the Phase I “Pods”, and maintaining alignment with the College’s Campus Master Plan, Central’s leadership made the decision to again retain RDG Planning & Design of Des Moines, IA to begin planning a 10,000 sq.ft., 48 bed addition to the north side of the existing facility, insuring that the architectural character of the addition would amplify and comply with the previously established aesthetics.
The project team conducted a design charrette on July 13, 2004, and a focused review of the design development drawings on Oct. 6, 2004 with students that currently occupied the phase I facility, as well as members of Central’s Facilities Team and Residence Life staff. These meetings were held to inquire about their likes and dislikes – seeking input that might change the design and / or improve the overall facility. These comments are reflected in the new addition plans, as the improved design will better serve the current and future residents. The addition was crafted to look like it had been there “just as long” as the existing facility. The floor plan is basically a duplication of the existing, highly successful floor plan arrangement with an additional 6 workstation computer lab located on the ground floor that will serve the entire facility.
The project team is pursuing a LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating from the United Sates Green Building Council. There are several reasons why Central College is interested in pursuing a green building rating for this facility.
•Follows the directive of Strategy 15 of the Central College Strategic Plan: “To promote and model
appreciation of our natural environment and stewardship of its limited resources.”
•Consistent with the directives of the Campus Master Plan
•Builds on the successful venture that the College has undertaken with Sustainable Design like the
Vermeer Science Center. Completed in 2003, it was the first LEED® rated building in the State of
Iowa, achieving a Silver Medal status. The hope is that the Pods Addition will be the first LEED®
rated residence facility in the state.
•Better livability for the students that reside on campus.
•Serve as a flagship for future sustainability initiatives and improvements, thus enhancing the
community and overall quality of campus life.
•Lower operating and life cycle costs.
The 1203 Independence Pod Addition will serve as a model to facilitate a commitment to campus sustainability. Listed per the environmental categories of the LEED® rating system, green features of the addition include:
Sustainable Site Development
•Building and site rain water run off is diverted to two rain gardens located on the west side of the facility that will slowly
absorb and purify the storm water before releasing it to the local aquifer.
•An electric-charging station is located in the parking lot adjacent to the facility for the purposes of charging an electric
•A covered bicycle storage facility is located on the building’s south side to promote and encourage bicycle use by the
•The exterior lighting surrounding the facility is designed to prevent direct-beam illumination leaving the building site, thus
reducing night sky light pollution.
•The construction site was limited around the building to reduce disturbance to an established site.
•Ecoquantum dual flush toilets are installed to encourage less water consumption.
•Sinks and showers have low flow faucets and showerheads.
•Each unit contains Neptune high efficiency clothes washers.
•Native site plantings were chosen to eliminate the requirement for irrigation.
Energy Efficiency and Low Atmospheric Emissions
•The building’s energy consuming systems were commissioned and will be re-commissioned.
•Triple glazed Designer Series Smart Sash III Pella Windows provide greater thermal comfort.
•Icynene spray foam insulation, which also reduces air infiltration, was used in wall cavities and attic spaces.
•An energy recovery system transfers heat and cool from the leaving shower room exhaust air stream to fresh incoming air
provided to all living spaces.
•State of the art building automation controls roll back thermostat set points during night and unoccupied periods, and
individual window proximity switches stop air-conditioning systems when windows are opened.
•Optimized energy performance exceeds stringent energy codes (ASHRAE 90.1) by 34%.
•Electrical energy consumption for each pod is measured and monitored as well as the overall energy consumption of the
addition’s mechanical equipment and systems.
•A block of wind power was purchased to provide 50% of the addition’s electrical needs for two years.
Indoor Environmental Quality
•Carbon dioxide levels are monitored to ensure ventilation systems are providing adequate ventilation.
•A Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan was in place throughout construction to provide for the health of
construction workers as well as the incoming residents.
•Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) adhesives, paints, composition wood, and carpet tile was used throughout the
•Individual temperature control is installed in all resident rooms and living spaces, including “return to occupied
•A ventilation & humidification system ensures human thermal comfort for all residents.
•Windows provide a direct line of site connection to the outdoors for 90% of all resident spaces.
Materials and Resources Used In Construction
•Recycling collection closets and a student developed recycling plan is in place.
•A waste management plan was in place throughout construction to ensure that a minimum of 50% of all
construction debris was recycled or salvaged.
•Recycled content is used in many of the building materials, such as carpet and ceiling tile, soundproofing materials used in
walls and floors, kitchenette counters made from recycled paper and magazines, the fabric covering the pod sofas, and
recycled currency used for the living area table tops.
•Rapidly renewable resources were incorporated into building materials, such as the linoleum used in the vanity /
kitchenette areas, bamboo baseboard in the computer lab and corridors, resident room and lounge furnishings made from
rubberwood, and corkboard poster pin-up walls.
•20% of all building materials were manufactured regionally within a 500 mile radius of the jobsite.
•Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) wood products were incorporated throughout the addition’s structural framing.
Innovation and Design Process
•A green-cleaning program in place to ensure the health and safety of the building occupants and custodians. This
incorporates cleaning products which are non-toxic and biodegradable, as well as providing the required cleaning
equipment and training to all building cleaning personnel and residents.
•The roof of the covered bicycle storage facility is covered with thin-film photo-voltaic panels that generate electricity from
solar energy. The electricity is imported into the building’s electrical grid.
•An evacuated heat pipe solar thermal system, located on the existing (phase I) south facing roof, will assist in heating the
entire facility’s domestic hot water.
•A 37” LCD screen located in the facility’s main gathering space scrolls through screens that will educate residents and
visitors about the addition’s green features, as well as informing residents of their current (real-time) and accumulated
energy consumption. It will also graphically display the real-time performance of the renewable energy features
incorporated into this project.
•A homepage developed for the addition’s residents (also available to the world via the Central College website), provides
the information listed above, as well as providing residents with the recycling and green-cleaning requirements of the
facility. This homepage will also be the screensaver provided on the computers located in the facility’s computer lab.
•Five LEED® Accredited Professionals were part of the project’s design / construct team.
•Central College artwork will be displayed in the computer lab that symbolizes Central’s commitment to sustainability.
•June 2004 – Central College identifies need for 48 or more new residential beds on campus.
•July 2004 – Central College retains RDG Planning & Design to design the new housing, fully expected to
be an extension (a Phase 2) of the current “Pod” housing.
•July 2004 – Central College retains Weitz Construction Company to be an active participant of the design
process, with anticipation that they will construct the building.
•July 13, 2004 – Programming and Design review conducted with current and former residents of the
“Pod” housing. Students provided feedback about likes and dislikes, relative to the current design. The
Design Team incorporated these review comments into the current design process (e.g.: Schematic
Design), and will incorporate others into forthcoming design efforts (e.g.: Design Development).
•July 29, 2004 – The Design and Construction Team, in association with representatives of the College,
present the building concept and early designs for this facility to the Building and Grounds Committee of
the Board. The Committee enthusiastically approved the concept and recommended 1) the design
process continue, 2) the design be presented to the Finance Committee of the Board, and 3) following a
successful review by the Finance Committee, the design be presented to the full Board for review and
•August 3, 2004 – Sustainable Design and LEED® Certification Workshop.
•August 2004 – Site Plan submittal (for review and approval) to the City of Pella, IA
•September 13, 2004 – Planning and Zoning Meeting for review / approval of Site Plan.
•September 2004 – Design Development Cost Estimate produced by Construction Team.
•October 1, 2004 – Early package of construction documents (Package 1) available for bidding, to allow
some footing and foundation work to occur before Winter 2004.
•October 6, 2004 – Owner / resident review of design development drawings.
•October 2004 – Construction begins for early package of work.
•November, 2004 – Construction Documents for Package 2 ready for bidding.
•January 2005 to August 2, 2005 – Ongoing construction of project.
•August 3 to 17, 2005 – Consistent with the Building’s Indoor Air Quality Management Plan (two week
building flush-out to cleanse the air of the building).
•August 3 to 19, 2005 – Consistent with the Building’s Fundamental Building Commissioning Plan,
verification test procedures performed on all mechanical systems and equipment
•August 19, 2005 – Ready for occupancy!
RDG Planning & Design is a proud member of the Central College 1203 Independence “Pods” Design Team. After having worked with Central to complete the original Phase I "Pods", we are delighted to not only have the opportunity to continue into Phase II, but to incorporate sustainable design elements for this phase of the work.
Central College and RDG Planning & Design both believe in the importance of being good stewards of the natural environment. We feel that truly responsible design embraces a solution that reduces environmental impact, lowers energy costs, and improves health and air quality.
The Pods design focuses on providing a living environment that enhances the health and well-being of the occupants and lessens the impact of the building on the natural environment during construction and over the total life of the building.
The health and well being of the building’s occupants is improved by the following methods – providing adequate ventilation, using non-toxic materials, and reducing contaminants during construction. Studies show that occupants are more productive and report less absenteeism in higher quality indoor environments.
By implementing a construction waste recycling program and by limiting the zone of construction, we are able to reduce the impact on the natural environment by conserving existing natural areas and vegetation during construction. By selecting construction and finish materials from local manufacturers we reduce the energy consumption and pollution associated with transporting materials. Materials using recycled content, such as carpet, kitchen countertops and gypsum wall board were installed to help offset the demand for virgin materials. These are a few of the strategies incorporated in the Pod design to lessen the impact on the natural environment due to construction.
Over the life of the building, the energy design features will reduce water consumption and the need for energy from non-renewable resources. High efficiency fixtures such as low-flow shower heads, dual flush toilets and horizontal axis washing machines are installed. Photovoltaic panels and solar thermal heat pipes contribute to the energy demands of the building but from a renewable resource – the sun.
We all play a role in preserving and enhancing the natural environment. The addition to the Pods is one example of how buildings can achieve this goal.
Jill E. Spradling, AIA, LEED® AP
RDG Planning & Design
Solar Heat Animation that loads live data showing the process of how the following parts work together: evacuated heat pipe solar collector, 1/12 hp pump, heat exchanger, solar storage tank, gas fired water heater and mixing valve to generate solar energy and heated water.
Bike Rack Animation that shows live data from thin film photovoltaic laments that create solar temperature, light level, and energy produced energy readings. The solar energy flows through an inverter (converting DC to AC) and then to the electrical grid.
All PODS residents are expected to participate in the recycling program. Every floor has a recycling center that residents can use to collect a large number of recyclable materials including: Paper, Newspaper, Plastic, Metal, Glass and Cardboard.
Each floor has a room accessed from the corridor, designated as the recycling center for that floor. In this
closet, bins are provided for the collection of recycling material. Each recycling closet is equipped with a
24” X 48” wheeled cart, housing three Rubbermaid model 3548 (16” X 16 “ X 30” tall) bins, labeled as
newspaper, plastic / metal, and cardboard. Two Rubbermaid model 5712-06 (20” X 16” X 14” tall) totes,
labeled for glass and white paper reside on a shelf above each cart.
Each individual pod is responsible for removing their recycled materials from each pod and out to the
adjacent corridor recycling closet. A recycling plan must be developed by the resident’s of each pod to
insure removal of the building’s recyclables, and will be part of the group’s formal, signed
White paper for reuse by residents (printing on one side) is encouraged by incorporating a paper tray near
the printer in computer lab 113. There is also a paper recycling bin provided in this space which will be
emptied by the building’s housekeeping staff. This staff will also be responsible for emptying the pod
addition’s trash container, located in the ground floor trash closet adjacent to computer lab 113. The
addition’s residents are responsible for removing rubbish from their pod and depositing it in this ground
floor trash container.
Recyclable items are defined and clarified by the College’s recycling contractor, (Recycle Midwest). Copies of this recycling flyer are posted in the recycling closet on each floor, and will be updated as required.
Sorted recyclables include the following categories:
o Includes white paper, printed paper, colored paper, file folders, magazines and catalogs.
o Paper should not be wet.
o Paper should be place in containers loose (not in bags or tied bundles with string)
o Newspaper needs to be recycled separately from other paper.
o Newspaper should be placed in containers loose (not in bags or tied bundles with string)
• Plastic and metals
o Such items need to be marked with a recycling code of 1, 2, or 3.
o Containers should be rinsed and empty.
o No plastic bags, plastic wrap, Styrofoam, lids, or caps.
o Removal of paper labels is not required.
o Walmart / HyVee plastic shopping bags are not recyclable. Students are encouraged to return
them to these stores for recycling, or discard in the trash.
• Glass (of all colors)
o No caps or broken glass.
o Containers should be rinsed and emptied.
o Any box or container that looks to be made of gray or brown material when torn is considered
o Corrugated cardboard boxes are recyclable, but should be broken down.
o Pizza boxes are considered trash and not recyclable.
When students acquire their keys from the Office of Residential Learning, they will be given a brochure which details the benefits of recycling. This brochure, developed and updated by Facilities Management, informs residents of the need to meet within the first two weeks of classes to update their self-governance strategies. This updated strategy must include a methodology for sorting and storing recyclables. In addition, the brochure explains the online training program for pod residents. The link for the online training site is indicated, as well as the expectation that students complete the training within the first two weeks of classes.
The brochure indicates the web address for the “Pod Addition Home Page” developed for residents (as well as the general public) to describe the environmental features of the LEED ® rated addition and providing real time / accumulated data regarding the energy consumed by each pod. This page is also displayed on the informational kiosk located in the facility’s gathering space. The web page contains a link to a student developed training video, explaining the Pod’s recycling program, the importance of recycling, the types of materials which are recyclable, and the dos and don’ts of recycling. The video also includes instructions regarding the “green-cleaning products” supplied to each pod for student use. After watching this training video segment, pod addition residents are expected to email the final screen/certificate to the Office of Residential Learning, verifying that the facility’s recycling and green-cleaning plan was in fact explained to them and understood. This email will be sent within two weeks after occupying the pod, and will be kept on file.
Residents of the pod addition are responsible for clearing out the recycling closet on each floor on a weekly basis. Recyclables will be taken from the recycling closet to the Big Red Recycling Trailer, which is parked on the south side service drive every Friday. Pod residents who use each closet must come up with a schedule for who will take out the recycling each week. A copy of this schedule must be on file with the Pod Community Council Physical Committee.
The Pod Community Council governs the pod building. Within the Pod Community Council there are several standing committees, one of which is the Physical Committee. The Physical Committee is charged with “ensuring compliance of building recycling initiatives” (Pod Community Council Constitution). As such, the Physical Committee of the Pod Community Council will be responsible for checking recycling closets each week to ensure the recycling is being taken out. Members of the committee will create a schedule among members to ensure closets are being checked weekly.
Should a Physical Committee representative discover that recycling has not occurred in the course of a week, that person will contact the pod responsible for taking out the recycling. Upon notice that a pod has failed to comply with its recycling duties, the following consequences will be given:
• First incident: Warning
Upon the first incident of recycling not being taken out, the pod responsible for the duties will receive a
warning from the Pod Community Council Physical Committee. It is expected that the recycling closet
will be emptied within two days of the warning.
• Second incident: Campus Service
Upon the second offense, the pod will be assessed four hours of campus service with the Facilities team.
The Physical Committee will alert the Director of the Pods and the Facilities Team that a pod has failed to
meet their recycling requirements. The Facilities team will coordinate with the pod regarding scheduling of
campus service. The campus service will focus on recycling and waste management (picking up trash on
campus, sorting out waste, etc.).
• Further incidences of non-compliance will be dealt with as they occur and will be handled by the Director of the
Pods. Failure to comply may result in enactment of the campus judicial process.
Compliance monitoring will be reset at the start of each semester. Should a pod comply with the program without a warning for the semester, that pod may be given a gift certificate to an area vendor.
There are special environmental requirements for cleaning the pod addition. Building custodians will incorporate
these green cleaning products, equipment, and techniques when cleaning the shower, toilet, and vanity spaces
of each pod. Residents are responsible for cleaning their own sleeping and living room spaces. To
accommodate these special “green-cleaning” requirements, students will find a cleaning caddy in an under sink
vanity of each pod. This caddy provides students with cleaning products which are non toxic, non-polluting,
and biodegradable. These products include:
•#27 Arsenal Green Select Glass Cleaner for windows and mirrors
•ReJuvNal Green Select Disinfectant for light switches, phones, sinks, toilets, etc.
•Super Shine All for furniture, desk-tops, etc.
•A micro-fiber cleaning cloth
•A spare vacuum cleaner bag
Building custodians will be responsible for insuring the student cleaning caddies are kept stocked with the proper
supplies. Each pod is provided a special HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresting) vacuum cleaner which
insures state of the art air filtration. This vacuum is intended for student use within each pod. Each pod is
responsible for insuring the security of their vacuum cleaner and cleaning caddy. They should never leave the
pod for any reason. Should you have a problem or experience any issues with your cleaning caddy or vacuum
cleaner, please call ext. 7676.
Central College art students have been given the opportunity to display paintings on canvas material which create privacy screens for the addition’s Herman Miller Resolve computer lab systems furnishings. Students are asked that their works reflect on environmental stewardship and the principles surrounding intergenerational responsibility.
Three dimensional artwork is currently being crafted by Central College Art Professor Brian Roberts. Several pieces will be permanently displayed (and subtly lit at night) directly outside the windows of the facility's computer lab. The artwork will draw attention to the large Burr Oak tree located directly north of the addition in which great care was taken to protect and insure construction and site conditions didn't damage the beautiful 150 year old specimen. The artist intends to bring the elements of the tree closer to the residents, reflecting on the cyclical processes of creation which constantly remind us that in nature, there is no waste. One system or organism's waste becomes food for another.
The College's graphic design class has been retained to develop a Central College "Eco-Logo"; inspired and reflective of the artwork within the spaces.
When students acquire their keys from the Office of Residential Learning, they will be given a brochure which details the benefits of recycling. This brochure, developed by Facilities Management, informs residents of the need to meet within the first two weeks of classes to update their self-governance strategies. This updated strategy must include a methodology for sorting and storing recyclables. In addition, the brochure explains the online training program for pod residents. The link for the online training site is indicated, as well as the expectation that students complete the training within the first two weeks of classes.
The brochure indicates the web address for the “Pod Addition Home Page” developed for residents (as well as the general public) to describe the environmental features of the LEED rated addition and providing real time / accumulated data regarding the energy consumed by each pod. This page is also displayed on the informational kiosk located in the facility’s gathering space. The web page contains a link to a student developed training video, explaining the Pod’s recycling program, the importance of recycling, the types of materials which are recyclable, and the dos and don’ts of recycling. The video also includes instructions regarding the “green-cleaning products” supplied to each pod for student use. After watching this training video segment, pod addition residents are expected to email the final screen/certificate to the Office of Residential Learning, verifying that the facility’s recycling and green-cleaning plan was in fact explained to them and understood. This email will be sent within two weeks after occupying the pod, and will be kept on file.