High Performance Buildings
Pennsylvania has 39 LEED® certified buildings and approximately 129 more buildings registered.
According to the federal Department of Energy, in 2005 US buildings consume 39 percent of the nation's primary energy and 71 percent of its electricity, while generating 36 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions. Given escalating energy prices, decreasing stability of supply, and impending removal of Pennsylvania's remaining electricity generation rate caps , and concerns over global temperature changes, it becomes increasingly important to minimize building energy consumption and its related air emissions and move towards zero net energy buildings. This entails both constructing new buildings to the highest standards and retrofitting existing building stock to maximize performance.
Pennsylvania is among the leaders in constructing high performance buildings. The only easily accessible measure is the number of buildings certified and registered under the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Leadership (LEED®) rating system
where the Commonwealth ranks in the top three. Liberty Property Trust has just received Pennsylvania's first platinum rating for its One Crescent Drive property
built on a brownfield site at the former Naval Shipyard, bringing the total number of certified buildings to 39 - 1 at the platinum, 17 at the gold, 9 silver, and 12 at the certified level. Both Liberty Property Trust and Pittsburgh based PNC Financial Services
have committed to high performance LEED® certified buildings as their standard (view the building case study
). In addition to its certified buildings, Pennsylvania has approximately 129 buildings registered for LEED® certification, in both the public and private sectors. They include 17 K-12 schools, 13 college and university facilities, 57 offices, and a range of other building types, including banks, laboratories, museums, hospitals, and apartments and condominiums.
DEP's Cambria District Mining Office
These numbers reflect only those projects seeking actual LEED® certification and do not include the many other buildings being built to high performance standards. For instance, since 2000 the American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment has been compiling an annual list of Top 10 US buildings. At least one Pennsylvania building has been on this list for eight of the award's ten years. The Philadelphia Police Department's Forensic Science Center, adapted by the Croxton Collaborative from a former school building, represented Pennsylvania on the 2006 list. Last year, both the Barn at Falling Water and the Pittsburgh Glass House were named. The Department of Environmental Protection's Cambria District Mining Office made the 2000 list.
The Pennsylvania Housing
Finance Agency achieved a
LEED® gold rating for their new headquarters building
State government has been a leader both in promoting the concepts and in demonstrating their cost effective reality. The Department of Environmental Protection's Southcentral Regional Office building was one of the USGBC's original LEED® pilot buildings in 1997. The agency now occupies six LEED® certified facilities, five certified at the gold level, and both the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency's and The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's headquarters are LEED® rated and six more state facilities are presently registered for LEED® certification.
Schools are an important target and several initiatives are in place to help districts improve their building stock, reducing operating costs and improving student performance. The Department of Education:
- Under the General Assembly's recent amendments to the School Code, which increased the state's basic reimbursement levels for school construction and renovation, is now able to provide an additional ten percent reimbursement for schools achieving a silver or higher LEED® certification or equivalent rating.
- In conjunction with the increased reimbursement, collaborates with the GGGC and the Pennsylvania School Building Authority in administering a program of small High Performance Green Schools Planning Grants to help school districts cover the costs of LEED® certification and other design costs not traditionally included in the standard fee. The first grant round provided funds for eight schools in a six month period.
- Incorporated discussion of green building concepts and integrated design processes in architectural reviews held on reimbursable school construction projects.
- Included membership in the Green Building Association of Central Pennsylvania for its architectural staff.
Three more state agencies are joining the three already occupying LEED® certified buildings.
- The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources aims at achieving LEED® ratings for all its new construction, primarily at the silver level or above. Three buildings are registered for LEED® certification with registration of at least six further buildings planned within the next two years. Those currently registered are:
- The Tom Ridge Center at Presque Isle State Park, a 30,000 square feet building that houses park administrative offices as well as study facilities, including a laboratory, and display areas for environmental education. The native, drought resistant, landscaping reflects the vegetation and ecoculture of the Lake Erie shoreline. Efforts towards renewable energy and energy independence include a packaged photovoltaic parking lot lighting system and the planned installation of a 10MW wind turbine
- The new administration building at Penn Nursery was designed for more than 75 percent of its space to be daylit. All the lumber for the timber-built structure was harvested sustainably and storm water is managed on site by rain gardens and infiltration trenches. To minimize site disturbance the new building was constructed on the site of the old one with much of the demolition waste being salvaged for siding, trim, fence and signage. At least 50 percent of the construction waste was diverted from the landfill.
- With a need for increased space, the Department renovated and expanded its District 10 Forestry Office . To minimize energy costs, it uses a ground source heat pump and high efficiency structural insulated panels for the new addition's walls and roof as well as high efficiency lighting and occupancy sensors. Recycling was a major focus. The structural steel, floor decking, doors and windows, gypsum board, floor tile and carpet, all contained recycled content. At least 75% of the construction waste was diverted from the landfill and the internal wood paneling was milled from wood salvaged from state forests damaged by forest fires.
- Three universities in the State System of Higher Education have new facilities registered for LEED® certification.
- Clarion University is replacing its 118,000 square foot Peirce Science Center with a high performance laboratory facility. It is designed to reduce energy usage by 40 percent through use of energy efficient lighting, heat recovery, motion detectors, and low-flow control devices on all fume hoods and in office and classroom spaces. The building is also designed to reduce water use by 30 to 40 percent, using waterless urinals and a rain harvesting system which will be used for non-potable uses such as flushing toilets. Thirty kW of photovoltaic tiles will cover approximately a quarter of the high albedo roof and produce an estimated 35,000 kWh annually. The project demonstrates true integrated design. Condensate from the air-handling units will be run into the rainwater-harvesting cistern and offset the evaporation and drift losses from the cooling tower. Construction materials will include materials from the demolition of the old building and an obsolete residence hall.
- Millersville University is building a new Education Center.
- The Swope Music Building and Performing Arts Center, West Chester University's, and the State System's, first building to seek LEED® certification, is due to open for the fall semester and is on target to achieve a silver LEED® rating. The university is now considering seeking certification for its renovation of the former Swope Hall.
- The Department of Labor and Industry required that the renovated building in which they are leasing office space from the Fayette County Community Action Corporation in downtown Uniontown be energy efficient and achieve a LEED® new construction (NC) silver rating. The Community Action Corporation will use the building as a demonstration for builders and community organizations as well as tying it in with the science curriculum of local schools. It is designed to reduce energy use by 22 percent through a ground source heating and cooling system with a dessicant energy recovery ventilation system, solar-thermal domestic hot water system, and a heat reflecting white roof. The dual flush toilets and waterless urinals are anticipated to reduce water use by 30 percent while the on-site construction waste recycling program aims at diverting 96% of the waste from the landfill. To further augment the demonstration value of the building, Allegheny Power donated four photovoltaic panels expected to generate approximately 4,500kWh of electricity per year.
Agencies are using high performance building principles and the LEED® criteria to inform the design of projects which, for various reasons, are not necessarily slated for actual certification.
- The Turnpike Commission has adopted the LEED® certified level as a standard to which it will design a new State Police barracks serving the Mon/Fayette Expressway, replacements for four of its maintenance facilities, and the system-wide redevelopment of its service plazas.
- The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' new Visitor Center and Park Office at Ricketts Glen State Park is located on a connecting park trail so as to cut down auto traffic and features a ground source heat pump for heating and cooling as well as a high proportion of recycled content materials. Its World's End State Park Visitor Center and Park Office has been retrofitted using EnergyStar® rated windows, occupancy sensors, high efficiency lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and low VOC paints.
- Within the State System of Higher Education :
- Cheyney University renovated its Student Union Building to provide 75 percent more daylight and has converted incandescent lighting to compact fluorescents.
- Edinboro and Mansfield Universities are each designing a major new facility to LEED® silver standards - the institute for Human Services and Allen Hall, a $5.6 million arts building, respectively.
- Kutztown University's new recreation center and academic forum both feature clerestories dimming systems to maximize daylight, energy efficient building envelopes, and low maintenance landscaping.
- Shippensburg University renovated two residence halls, replacing single pane windows and installing low flow toilet fixtures, waterless urinals, and energy efficient fluorescent lighting fixtures. The university is recognizing the value of full building commissioning which it performed on the newly constructed Performing Arts Center and has included from the schematic design phase in the specifications for its renovation of the Dauphin Humanities Center.
- Slippery Rock University adapted a 1920s farmhouse to accommodate some functions of the Robert A. Macoskey Center whose mission is to promote the transition to sustainable systems. The renovation of Harmony House included a passive solar greenhouse, super insulation, composting toilets, a constructed wetland for greywater remediation, a solar thermal/wood fired domestic hot water system, low/no toxicity building materials and a photovoltaic energy system. The timber framed Harmony Barn was also renovated with straw bale and clay-straw infill, a slate roof and rooftop rainwater collection system.
- Several universities including Indiana and Shippensburg are beginning to formally commission their new buildings.
- The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission renovated the Bitzer Barn at the Landis Valley Museum, including installation of a closed loop ground source geothermal system for heating and cooling. Its storage capacity was expanded without increasing its footprint by the use of high-density mobile systems for most of the site's important artifact collections.
Department of Environmental Protection's Moshannon District Mining Office
While constructing new buildings to high performance standards has a major payoff for the future, the immediate impact on energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions comes from increasing efficiency in existing buildings. The Commonwealth's Guaranteed Energy Savings program enables agencies to upgrade their facilities, often eliminating deferred maintenance backlogs without the need for capital budgets. Contracting with energy service companies from a Commonwealth qualified list, agencies use the utility savings realized by the building and equipment upgrades to pay off the costs over contract terms of up to 15 years.
The Departments of Corrections, General Services, Labor and Industry, Military and Veterans Affairs, Public Welfare, and Transportation, the State System of Higher Education, and the Historical and Museum Commission, have at total of 37 projects enrolled in the Guaranteed Energy Savings program.
Department of Labor & Industry's
Hiram G. Andrews Center
Seven of the early projects are now in repayment status. They will generate combined savings of more than $16 million over the lifetimes of the contracts. To date these seven projects have reduced water usage by 2,263,317 gallons and energy use by 226,899 MMBtus, thereby eliminating nearly 27,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 51 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 211 tons of sulfur dioxide.
The program's success can be measured both by the number of agencies involved but perhaps more revealingly by the percentage of their facilities enrolled. At this point, the State System of Higher Education is seeking contracts for all its constituent universities and its headquarters building. After successfully completing upgrades which guarantee energy savings of more than $34 million at its Ft. Indiantown Gap headquarters and the Scotland School for Veterans' Children, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is now upgrading virtually all of its remaining facilities, including its armories and veterans homes. The Department of Corrections, the first agency to negotiate a guaranteed energy savings contract, has added four more prisons to its original three facilities. The Hiram J. Andrews Center, the only facility owned by the Department of Labor and Industry, was the first project to begin repayment. It was so successful that the Center has undertaken a second phase, to include replacement of single pane, aluminum framed dormitory windows, inefficient hallway light fixtures, and original antiquated air handler units with direct digital control units.
Geothermal Heat Pumps at the
Hiram G. Andrews Center
The original purpose of the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program was to reduce utility expenditures for energy and water, with concomitant reductions in pollution. On a case-by-case basis it is also possible to address other high performance building objectives, such as improved indoor environmental quality, use of sustainable materials, and better handling of demolition and construction waste. In order to enhance the value of the Guaranteed Energy Savings program by including other high performance considerations, the GGGC and the Department of General Services are exploring the use of LEEDEB in conjunction with the Commonwealth's retrofit projects. As a pilot, the Rachel Carson State Office Building and the Governor's Residence, which together comprise one of the state's 37 guaranteed energy savings projects, have both been registered for certification under LEEDEB version 2.0. If the outcome is satisfactory, the GGGC and General Services intend to work cooperatively to incorporate the resultant LEEDEB documentation into the standard project requirements for all future Commonwealth guaranteed energy savings contract projects with the ultimate goal of LEEDEB certification for those applicable facilities.
Under the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act, the Department of General Services has initiated an outreach program to market the commonwealth's Guaranteed Energy Savings Program and Act 57. Through legislative workshops and local government gatherings, a structured Guaranteed Energy Savings program has been presented with help offered to local governments and K-12 schools. To date the program has reached 3 - K-12 schools, 4 county and 3 city governments and 2 universities.