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      MTU receives elite award

      The comforts of home...away from home. That's what Michigan Tech University calls one of its newest residence halls open to returning students. And the unique structure hasn't gone unnoticed.This summer, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design awarded Hillside Place top honors for its environmentally friendly abode."A LEED certification involves taking into account the need for sunlight, natural light, comfort and, of course, it takes into account the sustainability of the building in its lifetime, said Jim Heikkinen, Director of Planning and Engineering.To meet LEED standards, engineers also installed water efficient toilets in every apartment, along with energy conscious heating."In the residence rooms, we have the in-floor heating which is great in the wintertime, said resident Jillian Richards.And what better way to feel right at home. The fireplace is just one of the many perks Hillside has to offer. "We talked to the students, found out what they were interested in a building," Heikkinen said.We have these around the deck chairs that are great to just sit down and have meetings or to sit out and socialize or even I TMve seen students out here studying," Richards said.A gaming area, fitness center and a piano also made the cut.Those not in the mood for socializing can retreat in the special room with a view."It has a great view, and with the sun setting, you can catch it just right, Richards said. It's very nice up there."Heikkinen said the university is proud to hold the gold. "LEED gold is a pretty elite group. There's not very many."A rare reward that he said will never go out of style.