AIA 2030 Commitment – 2014 Reporting

In 2014, Wilson Architects signed the AIA 2030 Commitment. Our first year report, including more than 1.2 million gross square feet under design, shows that WA projects use 58.5% less energy than comparable existing buildings. Though we (barely) missed the current target of a 60% reduction, Wilson Architects projects were far more efficient than the average of reported projects (36.9% was the AIA2030 2014 mean pEUI reduction). We are proud of our progress.

EF Education First Headquarters Building

The EF Education First North American Headquarters building is a modern workplace organized around principles of open planning and connectivity. Dramatic spaces include a ten-story atrium, with staggered two-story meeting areas and social ‘water bars’, and a double-height 200 person auditorium with stepped seating. The ground and mezzanine floors boast 25,000 SF of light-filled public space, including a 10,000 SF, 250-seat restaurant with outdoor seating along the River. A salon, bike room and shower further promote an energetic and sustainable work culture.

The project is one of the first in Cambridge to be built under the Stretch Energy Code. Through raised floor air distribution, a high performance low-e argon-filled curtainwall system, and daylight optimization, the design reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 38% and overall energy usage by 34%. Careful lighting design reduces average lighting power density to a highly efficient 0.7W/sf (a 30% reduction). In AIA 2030 terms, the project is 58% more efficient than the regional average of comparable buildings – just 2% short of meeting the AIA 2030 challenge.

A stormwater management system, made up of rain gardens, subsurface water retention, and recycled water for toilets and irrigation, treats or diverts 90% of the average annual rainfall. A bicycle room, employee showers, an electric car charging station, a location near both a bicycle “Hubway” station (which the project proponent funded/installed), and a subway station all encourage energy-efficient commuting. These attributes enable more than 70% of building users to walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation.

The project is designed to the LEED Silver standard.

University of Massachusetts Amherst UMass Life Science Laboratories

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Life Science Laboratories is a research facility dedicated to cross and transdisciplinary research. The laboratories are planned with a flexible ‘ballroom’ concept to enable a variety of future research. Vertical duct shafts are pushed to the ends, leaving an open central area free for a wide range of lab planning modules. This investment in flexible space provides the University with opportunities to recruit new faculty and form partnerships with industry leaders.

The west facade features a cantilevered glazed canopy, which provides weather protection, and runs along the entire length of the building ending at a terrace with picturesque views. At the base of the building, rain gardens/bio-swales capture, filter, and contain runoff from the roof, parking lot, and pavement.

The design incorporates multiple energy reduction strategies, including high-efficiency (low-flow) fume hoods, enthalpy wheel and heat-pipe energy recovery AHU’s, heat exchangers to harvest energy from water cooled equipment, and a continuous air monitoring system. These systems reduced site energy 36.7% versus code-minimum, for an energy use intensity of just 160kBTU/sf/yr. In AIA 2030 terms, this is a 50% reduction from the Labs21 regional average of 320kBTU/sf/yr.

The project is LEED Gold Certified.

University of Pittsburgh UPitt Chevron Annex

The University of Pittsburgh Chevron Chemistry Annex is an air-rights addition to an existing chemistry teaching/research tower. Though originally planned for a typical land-use site, the design team took a decidedly sustainable approach by building the addition above an existing structure. This allowed the University to maintain campus open space and preserve a grassy hillside. Providing much needed chemistry lab space, the addition augments research capability and improves the undergraduate/graduate chemistry experience, through a design that is highly functional, efficient, flexible, and safe for students. The robust modular design has future adaptability in mind, so that it can be easily retrofitted to accommodate a range of programs. The addition is a transparent focal piece that engages the campus and places chemistry “on display” in the academic setting.
In an effort to offer relief from the harsh urban setting, pocket green spaces were added to the main entry, back entry plaza and adjacent hillside. This addition of foliage opens up the space to create an inviting outdoor environment for students to gather. It softens the street and ties the new to the old seamlessly, while adding liveliness to these once bare spaces.

A 100% High Hazard (H2) Occupancy, the relatively small laboratory addition employs 80,000 CFM of ventilation air to drive 64 low flow chemical fume hoods – a 20,000 CFM reduction versus a comparable conventional laboratory. As part of the LEED Certification process, the design team developed an energy model, which included a baseline and a proposed design. The model predicted the baseline total site energy to be 11,030 MMBtu/yr (an EUI of 398 kBtu/sf/yr). Using multiple design strategies, including the ballroom lab, low flow fume hoods, energy recovery AHUs, smart facade and fenestration design, daylight harvesting, and numerous occupancy controls, the design team reduced predicted site energy to 8,236 MMBtu/year (an EUI of 297 kBtu/sf/yr). This represents a total energy savings of 2,795 MMBtu/year, or 25.3% less than the baseline. This enormous energy savings equates to a reduction of 621 mT of carbon dioxide emissions per year, or approximately the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to power 32 single family homes (the EPA estimates 19.43 mT/yr per home). In addition, 97.7% of construction materials were diverted from the waste stream and water use was reduced by 40%+.

In AIA 2030 Challenge terms, the project, via LEED EAc6, purchased Green Power offsets equal to more than 20% of the project’s energy use, resulting in an AIA 2030 pEUI of 237 kBtu/sf/yr. This compares to a “Regional Average EUI” of 591 kBtu/sf/yr for similar chemistry buildings (derived from the EPA’s Labs21 database), for a total reduction vs. the average of approximately 59.8%. Given that the project’s opening date falls within the 50% reduction target of the program, the project meets the AIA 2030 Challenge for its building type.

The project is LEED Gold certified.

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