Award Winning GVI/CTRC Receives LEED Gold Certification

Posted September 2013

The Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC)—the research component of the Kaleida Health Gates Vascular Institute/SUNY at Buffalo Clinical Translational Research Center—has achieved LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. More specifically, this designation is for “Commercial Interiors” pertaining to the fit-out of the CTRC’s interior space. This accomplishment exceeds the initial objective of pursuing LEED Silver status.

In many ways, this project has surpassed many objectives—from the decision to stack a research center over a clinical vascular institute, a concept that defined how the building elements would relate to one another—from its interactive and collaborative design that compels occupants out of their silos and into productive “collisions” with each other—to its hotel design, offering a more hospitality-type atmosphere for its patients, and to a construction system that utilizes CannonDesign’s unique and flexible Universal Grid modular design.

The way in which the profession and the media have embraced the facility is another success story—with the GVI/CTRC earning 13 major industry awards. These include the very prestigious AIA American Healthcare Award, both the International and American Architectural Award from the Chicago Athenaeum, and an Academy Award from the International Academy for Design and Health.

The sustainability story … With a design that maximizes natural light, overall building load performance is reduced by 14%. Materials reflect LEED criteria for recycled content, renewable resources and impact upon indoor air quality. No-flow fixtures for water use reduction amounting to 30%, Energy Star®-rated equipment and more efficient lighting fixtures were all key factors in pursuing the initial goal of LEED Silver status—especially difficult in a high intensity lab space such as CTRC.

Demonstrating urban infill and promoting non-vehicular transportation due to public transit accessibility, the building’s downtown location yields significant environmental advantages. A large portion of the credits for this project have been attained because of its location. Development density, public transportation connectivity, and bicycle transportation have accounted for more than 25% of the credits because they are factors that are weighted so heavily.

Second most essential to the building’s success, was the efficient lighting fixtures and mechanical equipment. This accounted for another 20% of the credits. Mechanical equipment selection was especially important given the necessary high airflows in the building. The materials and construction also provided additional credits with the use of low-emitting materials such as carpets, paint, flooring systems, etc., along with a high percentage of recycled content used in the construction. What also drove this achievement was the enhanced commissioning credit, ensuring that all building systems are functioning properly.

Lauren Blas, LEED administrator for the project, explains that the large number of sustainable features of the building led the team to achieve more credits than was originally planned for. “When our team submitted the project,” noted Lauren, “we were unsure whether or not our buffer credits would be accepted.” Lauren goes on to explain that the documentation is so strict for some credits, that it’s often very difficult to achieve all that are put forth at the beginning of the project.

“Not only were we thrilled to learn that the majority of our credits were accepted—bringing our project to LEED Gold status—but more importantly, we were very happy to be part of UB’s decision to go forward in pursuing the LEED certification of this amazing project.”

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