The first net-zero president’s
residence hall in the US
“Net zero” Unity House is 2,000 square feet of LEED Platinum-certified space that generates as much energy as it uses annually. Originally built as a home for the Unity College president, the signature building was rededicated in 2016 as classrooms, lab space, and faculty offices.
“The Unity House is a natural living and learning laboratory, and we’re excited to be able to give students better access to it as a model of sustainable energy systems,” Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said. “It was a visionary educational construction project from the start and it continues to set sustainability trends nationally. It is great to celebrate the next chapter of this building with our alumni and other partners.”
Constructed in 2008, the structure was the first home of a U.S. college president to be LEED Platinum certified — the highest sustainability rating conferred by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Its innovative features include a moveable interior wall that is adjustable for changing uses and customizing room spaces; large south-facing windows that allow for passive heating; photovoltaic cells that produce electricity; a flat roof equipped with a protective membrane system to insulate and protect the structure; structural components designed to last for hundreds of years; and wiring and mechanical systems that can be easily replaced when they age or become outmoded. Also, because large central supports provide much of the structural strength, exterior walls incorporate fewer wooden supports and can accommodate more insulation.