Ben Franklin TechVentures® (BFTV) has announced that its expansion has earned the gold rating under the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for new construction. LEED is an internationally recognized standard that promotes sustainability in building design, construction, and operation.
The USGBC developed LEED to facilitate the identification and implementation of sustainable and environmentally-friendly design and construction. LEED provides third-party verification of green buildings. Participation in the voluntary process demonstrates leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility.
Ben Franklin TechVentures is owned and managed by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania and is located on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus in Bethlehem, PA. Ben Franklin’s business technology incubator program, among the first in the nation, has graduated 55 successful companies that together have created more than 5,400 jobs and grossed more than $984 million in annual revenue last year. Ben Franklin and TechVentures have earned 10 awards for technology-based economic development and energy conservation at the facility.
The 47,000-square-foot expansion of the Ben Franklin TechVentures incubator/post-incubator facility was designed as a state-of-the-art “green” building. Ben Franklin’s 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 the state. LEED buildings benefit the environment, the economy, and society.
In order to earn LEED certification, buildings must satisfy LEED prerequisites and earn LEED credits by employing sustainable strategies such as using low-VOC emitting materials and diverting construction waste from landfills. Based on the number of credits they receive, qualified buildings can achieve a status of Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.
The Ben Franklin TechVentures expansionhas a photovoltaic solar array on its rooftop and the latest energy-management and light-harvesting technologies, produced by Coopersburg, PA-based Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., integrated throughout the building. Both the original Ben Franklin TechVentures renovation and the TechVenturesexpansion projects engaged Spillman Farmer Architects for design services and Allied Building Corporation for construction management.