URI’s LEED Silver certified engineering house – URI News
KINGSTON, RI – October 7, 2021 – The headquarters of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Engineering are now designated LEED Silver, joining more than a dozen other buildings on the University’s Kingston campus. The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering, which opened in fall 2019, and the newly renovated Bliss Hall, which opened in 1928 and is part of the University of Rhode Island Historic District listed on the National Register of historic sites in 2018, both were LEED Silver certified.
LEED Silver, a designation by the United States Green Building Council, is one of four possible ratings based on a 100-point scale in several categories showing exemplary leadership in sustainable building practices. LEED certification provides independent verification of the green characteristics of a building or neighborhood, enabling the design, construction, operation and maintenance of resource-efficient, efficient, healthy and profitable buildings. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
The buildings become the 14e and 15e buildings to achieve LEED status on the Kingston campus. With this latest recognition, the University now has three LEED certified buildings; seven LEED Silver buildings, including Fascitelli and Bliss; and five LEED Gold certified buildings.
“It’s important to note that LEED certification translates into higher energy efficiency rates and significant energy savings for both university and state,” said Paul DePace, Director of Capital Projects from the University of Rhode Island. “But designing buildings that incorporate the use of sustainable materials, create open spaces for students to come together, and add green spaces to our campus also make the University a better place for all of us.”
The designer for both projects was Ballinger Architects and the contractor was Dimeo Construction Company. Hill International was the project manager. Construction on the Fascitelli Center, the largest construction project in the history of the University, began in February 2017. The exterior of the six-story, 183,500 square foot building, along with numerous interior walls, is nearly entirely in glass, which allows natural light to enter the main spaces. . The building has an energy efficient electrical system, which includes the use of daylight sensors that control lighting and “harvest” daylight by turning off lights in perimeter spaces when the weather is nice outside.
To help conserve energy and reduce the “heat island” effect common to buildings with dark roofs that absorb heat, the new roofs for both buildings were specified in white material. Minimized building footprints and the creation of a large engineering quadrangle with reduced paved areas added open green space to the outdoors for social gatherings. The use of low water consumption plantations that do not need landscape irrigation has also reduced typical water use by over 20%. The proximity of the two buildings to public bus and shuttle lines and to the campus was also important in calculating the sustainability of the projects.
The renovation and expansion of Bliss Hall began in January 2017. The existing 38,000 square foot building was stripped of the steel framing and stone exterior. A 15,000 square foot addition was constructed on the north side of the building. All windows have been replaced with energy efficient, historically appropriate modern windows. New plumbing, mechanical, fire prevention and electrical infrastructure were also included as part of the renovation. The new interior includes classrooms, laboratories, student areas and the offices of the College of Engineering.
To improve indoor air quality, builders have used low-emission materials in the construction of buildings and installed energy-efficient ventilation systems that bring a high degree of fresh air into the building and also include a cooling system. heat recovery to save on energy consumption. Bliss Hall also used a variable refrigerant flow system for air conditioning, further reducing energy consumption.
“The state of Rhode Island has set a goal for publicly funded projects to achieve LEED certification status,” said Jim Devol, project manager for Hill International. “With these two buildings, URI has gone beyond that.”