New building offers sustainable living


West 27th Place on Figueroa Street is the first student housing complex to register for a Leadership in Energy Environmental Development platinum certification in the country.

Green living · Alanna Waldman (right), a sophomore majoring in environmental studies, checks in with a leasing consultant. - Andrea Shen | Daily Trojan

LEED rates buildings based on the sustainability of the site, efficient use of water, use of energy and atmosphere, use of sustainable building materials and indoor environmental quality. Platinum is the highest level of certification a building can receive.

West 27th Place was carefully planned in advance to meet all of the standards for LEED certification, said David Hilliard, principal the of real estate firm Symphony Development. Walls were constructed off-site, delivered piece by piece like LEGOs and then assembled to minimize wood waste.

“While building, we were able to reduce up to 95 percent waste throughout the building’s construction,” Hilliard said.

Elevators are belt-driven, designed not only to be energy-efficient but also to generate electricity on the down stroke. The swimming pool on the third floor uses salt water instead of chlorinated water. All appliances are Energy Star-rated; no light bulbs are incandescent or fluorescent.

The apartment’s sustainability was a selling point, said Christine Rombouts, public relations representive for West 27th Place. Many students commented on the apartment’s Facebook page, expressing interest in the building’s sustainability.

“Students were really vocal on this,” Rombouts said. “They really care for sustainability. We were pleasantly surprised.”

Resident Ian Ritchey, a sophomore majoring in business administration, and Adam Maier, a sophomore majoring in animation and digital arts, said they heard about West 27th Place via word of mouth and were attracted by its sustainable quality.

“We grew up in cities [that were into the sustainability movement] so [sustainability] was a really important thing for us,” Ritchey said. “I was really impressed.”

Maier decided to live at West 27th Place because of the quality of the apartments in comparison to on- and off-campus housing options. He also enjoys the amenities West 27th Place offers, including the balconies, pool and courtyards.

“They have places that everybody can just come and congregate,” Maier said. “It’s not as isolated compared to other dorms or University Gateway.”

West 27th Place has its own separate bike storage room big enough to fit up to 325 bicycles — all part of a push for students to drive less, especially since the Community Redevelopment Agency plans to build bike lanes stretching from USC to downtown in 2013. Parking spaces are available, but priority is given to low-emission vehicles.

Despite West 27th Place’s heftier lease price compared to other on-campus housing, Hillard said every unit in the building except the model unit has been leased.

Units range from $1,500 a month for a small studio to $5,600 for a four-bedroom with a one-year lease.

A Five Guys Burger and Fries, a well-known East Coast burger chain, will also open a store in the building.

5 replies
  1. Kirk
    Kirk says:

    Minor point of clarification: Salt water pools are still chlorine pools. An electrolysis cell converts the salt in the water into chlorine.

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