Construction firm wins award for Phi Delta Theta house

Meyer Najem, an Indianapolis construction firm, received the award of excellence from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana for their construction of the environmentally-friendly Phi Delta Theta house on the Butler University campus.

According to phideltatheta.org, the house was a 33-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot project consisting of a complete renovation to the 1929 structure to be the first LEED certified fraternity house in the state of Indiana.

Sam Mishelow, executive vice president of business development at Meyer Najem, explained what it means to be LEED certified and why LEED is an important distinction in the construction field.

“LEED  stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” Mishelow said. “The U.S. Green Building Council represents the nation’s foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work.”

The interior was completely gutted back to concrete floors and brick walls to allow for all new interior framing and finishes, including new heating and air conditioning, fire sprinklers and electrical systems.

The entire limestone exterior was patched and repaired, which included the installation of new windows and membrane roofing.

Mishelow said the Phi Delta Theta house was designed to encourage sustainability and utilize renewable resources, while maximizing energy efficiency.

Jeff Beck, senior member of Phi Delta Theta, said he appreciates the eco-friendly approach Meyer Najem took when reconstructing the Phi Delta Theta house.

“Lights [in the house] are on sensors, highly reflective material is used on the roof, a state-of-the art heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system both heats and cools the house with forced air, eliminating the need for a boiler,” Beck said. “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 have electrical outlets for hybrids.

Locked and covered bicycle parking is also provided.”

Beck said the only thing missing in the Phi Delta Theta house is the coveted “new house smell,” because the HVAC system uses low-or-no odor materials.

Phi Delta Theta president, junior Mark Minner, said he feels every house on campus is unique and adds its own character to campus, but he said he feels the Phi Delta Theta house stands out from the rest.

“I think the Phi Delt house has a totally different look,” Minner said. “As one of the oldest buildings built on campus in the 1920’s, [it] really stands alone.

“It was coined ‘the castle on the corner’ for that reason, it is a centerpiece to the south end of Butler’s campus.”

Minner said there is nothing about the Phi Delta Theta house he can complain about.

He said his favorite part of the house is the top deck that has, “an incredible view overlooking campus.”

Prior to the recent renovations, no one had occupied the Phi Delta Theta house since 2002.

The actual construction of the house cost approximately $1.7 million and took a little over one year to complete.

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