Environmentally Sustainable Design
The Ben Franklin TechVentures expansion earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating on the United States Green Building Council’s Rating System for new construction. LEED is an internationally recognized standard that promotes sustainability in building design, construction, and operation.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ focus on environmental sustainability in its new facility reflects an understanding of the tremendous importance of saving energy costs, reducing dependence on foreign fuels, and expanding clean energy production to create energy-related jobs in Pennsylvania. LEED buildings benefit the environment, the economy, and society.
The Importance of LEED Buildings
Building construction and occupancy account for a significant amount of energy, fresh water, and material resource consumption. Every year, buildings consume more than 30% of the total energy and more than 60% of the electricity used in the United States. Each day, five billion gallons of drinkable water are used to flush toilets. A typical commercial construction project in the United States generates 2.5 pounds of solid waste per square foot of completed floor space.
By helping to reduce this consumption, green and sustainable building design strategies help to lessen the negative impacts of buildings on the environment. They also reduce energy and operating costs over the lifespan of the building.
Ben Franklin maintains a real-time assessment of energy production and savings throughout the building. Click here to watch the Ben Franklin TechVentures Green Screen in action, updated live.
Long-Range Benefits of “Green” Buildings
But the benefits of green buildings go even further. Green buildings provide comfortable, healthy indoor environments for occupants. Green design measures have been documented to increase worker productivity, reduce absenteeism, and reduce the risk of indoor air quality issues. A workplace design that provides occupants comfort, health, and satisfaction helps attract and retain talented employees. As a result, a well-designed, sustainable building provides financial benefits to building owners, resident companies, and workers, as well as to society overall.
|Effective Site Selection|
|TechVentures2 was built in a previously developed location with pre-existing utilities and roadways, limiting damage to the environment and preserving ecologically valuable land. Further, the building’s use complements the uses and activities already on site, to help encourage development density that allows building occupants to share resources while reducing the associated need for vehicular travel.||
|Encourage Alternative Transportation|
|TechVentures2 offers secure bicycle racks as well as showers and changing rooms to encourage occupants to ride bicycles to work. Cycling is an environmentally friendly alternative to automobiles because it reduces fuel consumption, traffic congestion, and air and noise pollution while concurrently encouraging fitness among workers.|
|Minimize Heat Island Effect on Roof|
|TechVentures2 has a high-reflectance roof that keeps the building cooler in summer and helps minimize “heat island effect,” an undesirable micro-climate condition that occurs when the heat from the sun is retained on absorptive surfaces. Heat island effect causes ambient temperatures to be artificially elevated. Heat islands are not only uncomfortable to humans, but are also detrimental to site habitat, wildlife, and migration corridors because plants and animals are sensitive to temperature and may be harmed when temperatures are unnaturally elevated.|
|The landscape around TechVentures2 features native, drought-tolerant, and non-invasive trees, shrubs, and grasses. These plantings eliminate the need for an irrigation system, minimize the need for fertilizer and pesticides, and establish a supportive ecosystem for birds and other urban wildlife.|
|Optimize Energy Performance|
|The orientation of TechVentures2 optimizes natural daylight yet minimizes heat gain and solar glare. Energy-efficient lighting and lighting controls inside and out help to reduce electricity usage in the building. A state-of-the-art Lutron Quantum energy-saving automatic lighting and window shading system also helps control heat gain during the daytime and helps insulate the building at night.|
|On-Site Renewable Energy – Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic System|
|TechVentures2 incorporates on-site renewable energy through a rooftop solar photovoltaic system. This system uses panels made of silicon to convert sunlight into electricity, which contributes to powering the building. This reduces environmental impacts associated with utility production, requires little to no transportation costs, and reduces reliance on the power grid.|
|Construction Waste Management|
|The construction team for TechVentures2 implemented a construction waste management plan. This diverted construction debris from disposal in landfills and incinerators through recycling and salvage. Construction, renovation, and demolition activities generate significant quantities of solid waste, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.|
|Recycled Building Materials|
|TechVentures2 was constructed with many materials composed of recycled content, including the structural steel, drywall, carpet, countertops, and ceiling tiles. Using building materials with recycled content reuses waste products that would otherwise be sent to landfills.|
|TechVentures2 is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as having more than 50% of the wood used in its construction sourced from sustainably grown and harvested forests. Forest ecosystems are a vital part of the web of life on earth, and they are also commercially important because they yield valuable resources like wood, rubber, and medicinal plants.|
|Controllability of Lighting Systems|
|The lighting system within TechVentures2 provides uniform general ambient lighting, augmented with individually controlled task fixtures. These features allow lighting to be customized in consideration of the specific tasks at hand, enabling occupants to tailor the workspace to their individual needs.|
|Daylighting & Views|
|TechVentures2‘ south-facing façade allows most occupants to have access to natural light in their workspaces with direct outdoor views. To help take advantage of the benefits of daylight while minimizing the associated glare and heat, the building is equipped with passive and active technological solutions. These include Lutron Electronics’ Quantum total light management system and light-reflecting shelves throughout the building. This integrated technology monitors the amount of daylight and simultaneously controls automated shades to eliminate glare or excessive sunshine in the building.|