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UAlbany Opens ‘Liberty Terrace,’ a 500-Bed Environmentally Sustainable Student Housing Complex

Facility Expects to Use 50 Percent Less Energy and 45 Percent Less Water than a Comparable Building

ALBANY, N.Y (August 20, 2012) – The University at Albany today officially opened Liberty Terrace, a new 500-bed, environmentally sustainable student housing complex. Designed with a state-of-the-art geothermal heat pump system, Liberty Terrace is expected to use 50 percent less energy and 45 percent less water than a comparable building meeting current building codes and standards. The facility is on track to receive the University’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

The University dedicated the suite-style apartment complex with assistance from Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings, '76; New York State Dormitory Authority President Paul Williams; and PS+S Architecture, PC, Principal Steve Derochi.

"Liberty Terrace is one of the many structural enhancements occurring across campus to help us prepare for the next generation of UAlbany students," said University at Albany President George M. Philip. "The facility supports student success while advancing the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability.”

"I congratulate the University at Albany on the opening of Liberty Terrace," said Mayor Jennings. "The new complex provides a safe, clean and appealing learning environment for UAlbany students while enhancing the surrounding community."

UAlbany's Liberty Terrace apartments atrium
UAlbany's Liberty Terrace features a lounge area, an exercise room and other amenities, including laundry facilities on each floor. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

The complex's most impressive environmental attribute is its geothermal heat pump system installed with support from a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Since the temperature beneath the earth’s surface remains relatively consistent throughout the year, the system uses the earth as a heat source in winter and heat sink in summer to provide nearly 400 tons of temperature control to the building. The building does not rely on traditional sources of heating or cooling such as boilers or chillers.

The apartments are constructed with myriad natural and sustainable elements, including permeable pavement, a green roof, rain gardens, daylight maximization, and recycled and locally sourced materials.

The buildings feature meeting spaces, an exercise room, a lounge area, and other shared amenities for students, including laundry facilities on each floor. Each apartment consists of four one-bedroom units, with two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living/dining room area.

"The Liberty Terrace apartments offer the latest in green technologies while seamlessly integrating with the architecture of the University campus and the city of Albany," said Derochi.

The surrounding area, known as Indian Pond, is also undergoing significant landscaping and maintenance upgrades to provide a sustainable natural environment with walking and jogging paths. Pond area improvements, with enhanced nature trails and plantings, benches, an overlook and a footbridge are expected to be completed in late September.

"Liberty Terrace will provide UAlbany students with a safe, comfortable and sustainable home-away-from-home for generations," said Williams. "We are proud to have collaborated with UAlbany on this cutting-edge residence hall."

As part of Liberty Terrace project, the University's dedicated walking and jogging trail, the 'Purple Path,' will be extended from the southern portion of the campus through the housing project, by Indian Pond, and through to the Boor Sculpture Studio. A new softball field along the path is also being constructed for University student intramural and recreational use; and selected areas of the site will be enhanced with seating, sculpture, and other recreational amenities for the enjoyment of the University and surrounding community.

Learn more about student housing at UAlbany, or check out the Liberty Terrace photo gallery.