Medical Student Residence

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Highlights of the sustainable design strategies include:

Campus & Sustainable Site Design

  • Sustainable Transportation: The Medical Student Residence stands at the southwestern corner of the medical campus in Boston’s South End, just a short walk from 5 subway stops and the BU Shuttle Albany Street station. With an active pedestrian population, 96% of students use sustainable modes of transportation such as public transit, walking, and biking.
  • Bike System: The residence offers both indoor and outdoor bicycle storage facilities, serving 15% of residents and is located within walking distance to numerous bike racks on campus. The residence is also just a short walk from a Hubway station giving students even more opportunities to access campus or other areas in Boston by bike.
  • Green Roof: White reflective roofing is used to minimize the urban heat island effect and reduce energy use.
  • Sustainable Sites:  Designed specifically to meet the needs of students, the residence is within walking distance of the instructional, clinical, and research facilities at the Medical Campus. Behind the building is the “Field of Dreams,” a community garden and recreational space made possible by anonymous donors. The site has a sand volleyball court, a grass field, a basketball court as well as space for 9 vegetable beds with fresh produce for all residents.


  • Water Efficiency: The Medical Student has reduced water use in the building by 40% through the installation of features such as low-flow kitchen and lavatory faucets, and showers.
  • Irrigation Water Use: The residence uses high-efficiency irrigation technology, using recycled rain water, and drought-tolerant landscaping to reduce potable water consumption for irrigation. The landscape features were designed to require as little water as possible and the residence uses 100% rainwater harvesting for irrigation, resulting in an 11% reduction in water used for irrigation.

Energy & Atmosphere

  • Energy Efficiency: Building energy efficiency is a high priority for new building design for Boston University and the Medical Student Residence is 18% more efficient than building code requirements. Some of the energy efficiency features include improved thermal envelope, high efficiency windows, reduced lighting power, efficient heating equipment, energy recovery and elevators with regenerative drives.
  • Efficient Heating Equipment: The Medical Student Residence has individual thermal controls in all apartments as well as all common spaces such as offices, study lounge, and conference rooms in order to save energy when rooms are not in use.
  • LightingAll conference rooms, fitness rooms, lounge, and other common spaces in the building have their own lighting controls. This allows people to turn off the lights in the individual rooms when they are not used and saves overall lighting energy.
  • Daylighting: To make the most out of natural light and reduce the need for artificial lighting, the windows for the Medical Student Residence enable a high level of light transmission while reflecting unwanted solar radiation to control glare. Additionally, daylight sensors dim or turn lights off when daylight is sufficient.
  • Enhanced Refrigerant Management: Traditional CFC-based refrigerants in tenant heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) are a direct cause of climate change. The Medical Student Residence uses CFC-free refrigerants and HVACR systems that minimize the emission of compounds that cause ozone depletion and global climate change.


  • Recycled content of materials: 33% of all construction material is made from recycled content. By using materials obtained from recycled sources, the Medical Student Residence reduces the unnecessary use of virgin natural resources and requires much less processing than new materials. In addition, 88% of construction waste was recycled.
  • Regionally Sourced Materials: 52% of building materials and products were sourced within 500 miles. This minimizes the carbon footprint associated with the transportation of these materials.

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Low VOC Materials: Boston University uses low VOC materials in all its projects. Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are present in many construction materials, paints, flooring and furnishings, posing a risk to the general population. The Medical Student Residence is built with low VOC materials to protect the residents of the building and the environment from air pollution and unhealthy chemical emissions.
  • Ventilation: The Medical Student Residence uses both natural and mechanical ventilation that meets the ASHRAE requirements. Natural ventilation uses the natural motion of outside air and pressure difference to passively ventilate and cool a building. This process of improves indoor air quality, saves energy, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions while mechanical ventilation contains CO2 sensors that controls the amount of ventilation and keeps the air fresh.

Waste Reduction & Recycling

  • Collection of Recyclables: The Medical Student Residence provides residents with a recycling collection room for materials including cardboard, paper, plastic, glass, and metals. Recycling areas are conveniently located so as to enhance the volume of recyclables collected.

Quick Facts:

Project Address: 815 Albany Street
Scope: 84,033 square feet
Project Management: Fallon Towle & Associates
Architects: Beacon Architectural Associates
MEP Engineers: AHA Consulting Engineers
Geotechnical Engineers: Nitsch Engineering