University at Buffalo’s historic Townsend Hall has received LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system is the benchmark metric for sustainable design, providing third-party certification for buildings designed to save energy, resources and provide improved environments for their residents.
Originally built in 1903, the long-vacant building underwent an $8.7M adaptive reuse renovation starting in 2016 to provide much-needed administrative space. The repurposed building is now home to UB’s Human Resources department. The design features an adaptable, functional floor plan providing a range of comfortable workspaces, fostering productivity with enough flexibility for future use without further renovations.
SWBR embraced the revitalization of this long-dormant facility and incorporated sustainable design strategies that provided energy efficiency and improved comfort. Preserving the historic stone façade, the team designed an enhanced thermal envelope from the outside in with new energy-efficient windows that maintain the historic aesthetic and employed campus-standard forced-air systems with energy recovery to achieve 36% energy savings. This adaptive reuse project maintained over 80% of the existing exterior walls, floors, and roof structure, significantly reducing the embodied carbon impacts associated with new construction. Products and materials installed on the project contained over 20% regional content and over 10% recycled content. The project also incorporates UB’s environmentally conscious Green Cleaning policy.
SWBR provided architecture and structural engineering design services for the project.