University at Buffalo’s Townsend Hall Receives Green Building Legacy Award

The Townsend Hall Renovation at University at Buffalo has been awarded the Green Building Legacy Award by USGBC NY Upstate. The award is given to a building or project that were innovative in sustainable practices and pushing the envelope of sustainability in design and development, meeting USGBC’s vision of proving the value of working together for a built environment that is ecologically, socially, and economically healthy, resilient, and prosperous for all. The project received LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council earlier this year.

The project was also selected because of the significance of its namesake, Harriet Townsend, the driving force in establishing the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union of Buffalo in 1884. The Union was dedicated to promoting “the material, moral, and intellectual welfare of the women of our city.” The organization accomplished its mission through lectures, classes, and vocational training in downtown Buffalo.

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.

SWBR embraced the revitalization of this historic 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.

Project Architect Caitlin Ellis, AIA, accepted the award on SWBR’s behalf at the Leadership Awards Gala, which was held virtually on November 15.

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