GTF GETS LEED GOLD
FEBRUARY 7, 2015
This just in. We got the good news today from the United States Green Building Council that the Greater Texas Foundation building has officially received a LEED Gold certification, making it the first LEED building in Bryan, Texas. It is located in a part of the city that will be experiencing focused development in the upcoming decade, so we hope that the project raises the bar by example for future sustainable development in the region.
Each material used in the building was scrutinized for its content (source of raw material, recycled content, recyclability), energy to create it, effect on indoor air quality and proximity to the site. Building materials manufactured within 500 miles of the site were prioritized in order to minimize the energy expended during transportation. Twenty percent of the total building materials meet these criteria and of those, at least 50% were extracted, harvested, or recovered within 500 miles of the site.
Solar orientation was a primary consideration when developing the master plan for the project site. The building is oriented to maximize daylight throughout the building while minimizing solar heat gain, thereby reducing energy use for lighting and for cooling. All of the exterior glazing is a high performance glass that efficiently maintains indoor comfort by blocking the sun’s heat, while letting in natural light and views. Every occupied space in the building is flooded with high quality natural light, creating a healthier and more comfortable environment for occupants.
In an early design presentation to the City of Bryan we communicated our desire to use reclaimed wood as a significant feature in the building; the City informed us of a warehouse building slated for demolition very near our site. Through a novel collaboration with the City, we were able to salvage a large quantity of antique long-leaf pine from the structure of the demolished building. This very-local reclaimed material is now prominently featured throughout the new building. For example: all the wood floors, exposed roof decking, wood ceilings, the front door and several custom furniture pieces throughout the building. In addition to being a sustainable choice, the long-leaf pine turned out to be the most stunning material in the building.
The landscape design emphasizes restoration of the native ecosystem and results in a design that combines native and adaptive planting with innovative water use practices to eliminate the need for potable water use for irrigation. Irrigation water is collected from roof rainwater runoff and air conditioning condensation. This water is stored in an underground cistern and supplements the formal planting beds around the building. Manicured turf areas, which require high maintenance and supplemental watering, have been limited to outdoor event spaces. Other benefits of native plants include natural pest resistance, lower maintenance, and wildlife habitat.
Other sustainable features include an onsite bioswale, highly efficient HVAC systems, and an air-tight super-insulated building envelope.
- 22% of total building materials content is recycled
- 22% of total building materials content is salvaged, reused or reclaimed
- 31% of total building materials content is sourced from within 500 miles of the site
- 40% energy cost reduction
- 37% potable water use reduction
- 98% total water use reduction
- 10,000 gallons gallons of water recovered from HVAC condensate each year