Vermont Business Magazine LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) goals are a major tool for developing buildings that support advanced sustainability and climate change goals. When developing a new dormitory on the Williams College campus (the first in 40 years), LEED guidelines and certification were integral to the College’s goal of reducing its carbon footprint. The longevity of the building (100 years minimum) and sustainability were in the foreground.
Centerline Architect & Planners, PC worked hand-in-hand with Jason Moran, Senior Project Manager and the Williams College Building Committee, as well as Engelberth Construction, Inc. to identify and track sustainability metrics and set goals for building performance. Horn Hall’s creation earned 82 points in the LEED rating system qualifying it for LEED® Platinum certification. This highly sought-after Platinum status represents only 6% of all LEED certifications.
When developing the design of the building, the overriding goals were to incorporate respect for the fabric of the neighborhood, encourage interaction, and develop the public-private layering of personal, shared, and public spaces. The goal was to create a building that balances the traditional structures of the neighborhood with the creation of a new form suited to modern aesthetics and sustainable materials.
Developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED certification is the world’s most widely used green building rating system, a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership, and an international symbol of excellence. It provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient and economical green buildings.
For this project, the maximum achievable points for the Innovation category, which recognizes the creative application of design, technology and construction features, as well as regional priority credits have been awarded. Horn Hall was also recognized for its strong performance in all other categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality.
“For the Williams College Dormitory, we incorporated sustainable features including low-flow plumbing fixtures, triple-glazed windows, continuous exterior insulation, rain screens, minimized air infiltration, ventilation with heat recovery, dense interior insulation, LED lights and occupancy sensors. said Kevin Racek, Principal Architect at Centerline. Photovoltaic solar panels will further reduce the carbon footprint of the building. In final testing prior to occupancy, the building exceeded all specified energy targets.
Aesthetically, the 25,000 square foot tri-wing structure features a terra cotta exterior, which mimics the clapboard structures in the surrounding area, and dark metal panels, which allow the connections between the wings to recede visually. The grey-clad copper mimics the friezes of the surrounding colonial architecture and reduces the perceived height of the building.
“Our goal was to create a structure that blends into the surrounding community while providing a comfortable, highly energy-efficient space and modern design for the students who live there. We were involved in every phase – planning, architectural design, construction administration and lighting design – ensuring the project meets the high standards and vision of Williams College,” said Racek.
Centerline Architects & Planners, PC has offices in Bennington and Burlington, Vermont.