Reaching for the Stars - 2400 Nueces Grabs Four

2400 Nueces, a 304 unit high-rise student apartment building in the University of Texas West Campus neighborhood, is celebrating recognition of its sustainable design from two well-known industry associations. It received a 4-Star rating from Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) and also was awarded LEED ® Gold Certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council. Members of the project team, along with representatives of AEGB, participated in the celebration, which was held on June 27 at 2400 Nueces.

The project is a joint venture between The University of Texas (UT) and Educational Realty Trust (EdR), a national developer that specializes in collegiate housing at major universities. The dual achievements affirm that Page, a multidisciplinary architecture and engineering firm, met its objective of ensuring that 2400 Nueces is a model of sustainability, not only from an urban design point of view but also in terms of its energy efficiency and resource utilization.

“The sustainable design features incorporated into the project not only raised the bar in delivering a high-performance, environmentally sensitive project, but also weave together the values of the University, students and community, improving the cultural vitality of the region,” said Katherine Blair, LEED AP, sustainable design specialist at Page.

LEED is a complementary program to AEGB, the nation’s first comprehensive green building program which served as the framework for the development of LEED.  Austin Energy differs from LEED in that the reviewers are involved at an early stage and can act as additional resources and consultants to project teams. Originally, 2400 Nueces was intended to target LEED Silver but the collaborative work between the client, design and construction teams made the Gold certification possible. 

Building performance and energy usage were optimized in all phases of construction and occupancy. Energy efficient practices include leveraging site orientation to control solar loads by facing 75% of units either north or south, maximizing day lighting and natural ventilation.

The unique high-performance building envelope is a major contributing factor to the 4-Star AEGB rating and LEED Gold certification of 2400 Nueces. The Page team worked to optimize the design and selection of materials in response to the climate of central Texas. Other energy conservation strategies include hydronic heating and cooling throughout, low flow fixtures and use of recycled content.

2400 Nueces includes 304 units with 622 rooms, almost 19,000 square feet of academic/office space on the ground and second level for UT’s International Student Offices. Units include a wide range of living configurations including studios, one/two/three/four bedrooms and townhomes in an effort to encourage a diverse population.

The building is now a major landmark in the developing West Campus neighborhood. In 2004, the city of Austin up-zoned the neighborhood in an effort to create a more compact, sustainable community by increasing pedestrian and bicycle commuting. As a result, over one-third of the people who work/study at UT Austin currently arrive by foot, by bike or by a combination of the two. 2400 Nueces extends this pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use environment and intends to foster a stronger sense of connectivity with the campus.

Page provided programming, architectural design, sustainable design, civil engineering and interior design and commissioning for 2400 Nueces, which was constructed by Hensel Phelps. The project opened to residents August 2013.

Street number photo credit: Sarah Fusco, AEGB