Phi Delt House Renovation
Renovation of Phi Delta Theta ("Phi Delt") at 705 West Hampton
Drive has transformed the 1929 structure into the first
LEED-certified fraternity house in Indiana. Phi Delt's house
corporation board decided to go green early on, says house corp
officer Eric DeWitt '99: "We felt that we had an opportunity to
take advantage of the direction the university and the marketplace
were heading. The timing was right."
LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally
accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of
high-performance green buildings. Developed by the U.S. Green
Building Council (USGBC) in 2000, LEED offers third-party
validation of a project's green features.
Certification requires that a project meet seven prerequisites and
earn a certain number of points, explains Lori Anderson, project
architect with Peterson Architecture and a LEED-accredited
professional. "One thing that worked to our advantage was that [Phi
Delt] was an existing building; LEED doesn't want you to tear it
"We found early on that the 1929 exterior structure was intact,"
DeWitt adds. "We were very fortunate." So contractor Meyer Najem
demolished everything inside down to the cement floors and out to
the exterior walls, which are brick on the inside and Bedford
limestone and Carolina granite on the exterior. Maintaining green
space by using the existing parking area earned LEED points.
Anderson also specified the use of regional materials wherever
possible to reduce using natural resources to transport them. So
the project also earned points for using drywall from Shoals, Ind.,
concrete block with recycled content from Martinsville and
limestone from Bloomington.
The house is noteworthy for its durability, livability and
eco-mindedness. Lights are on sensors. Highly reflective material
is used on the roof. A state-of-the art HVAC system both heats and
cools with forced air, eliminating the need for a boiler. In
addition to a sprinkler system and downstairs kitchen, the house
includes a room dedicated to the storage of recyclables. Outside,
high-efficiency cars get the premium parking spaces, which include
electrical outlets for hybrids. Locked and covered bicycle parking
is also provided. What the 48 residents won't get is that "new
building smell," due to the HVAC system and use of low- or no-odor
materials including glue, paint and carpet.
"The attention to detail was enormous," DeWitt says, and he hopes
Butler Phi Delts for several generations will benefit. "This is a
100-year fix. My hope is that these undergraduates recognize what
has been done and the time, money and effort that have been
invested in it-that they will respect the property and the
opportunity they have in front of them."
Phi Delt has been designated substance-free housing. The
renovation was completed in time for an August move-in as well as
the fraternity's 150th anniversary at Butler; Phi Delta Theta was
installed in October 1859 as the first fraternity founded at the
university. After closing in 2002, the chapter was reinstalled in
April 2009. More than 1,700 Butler alumni have been affiliated with
the chapter, but the men who occupy the house from 2009 forward
will enjoy the special distinction of living green.