Doering Center LEED Certification

Doering Center on a sunny day at Bryn Athyn College

Doering Center LEED Certification

The Grant R. Doering Center for Science and Research was designed and constructed using the United States Green Building Council‘s LEED Rating System for new constructions (LEED – NC2.2). LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized standard for what constitutes a “green building.” Many aspects of the Doering Center contribute positively to the environment. Here are overviews of a few of the green features of the Doering Center.

Site and Water Garden - One of the biggest environmental impacts that buildings have is on the land itself. The development of undeveloped sites alters ecosystems, consumes natural resources, and uses significant energy. Because the Doering Science Center was built on a previously developed site, greenspace and ecosystems were not disturbed. In fact, the ecosystem was enhanced through the creation of a rain garden, which absorbs runoff from the impervious surfaces and allows stormwater to soak into the ground instead of flowing into storm drains and local waterways. The plants within the rain garden include native wildflowers, sedges, rushes, and ferns.

Landscaping - The landscaping around the building features native, drought-tolerant, and non-invasive trees, shrubs, and grasses. These native 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.

Transportation - The Doering Science Center provides secure bicycle racks and convenient indoor shower facilities to encourage building users to opt for bicycles instead of cars for transportation. Traveling by bicycle, whether across campus or across town, produces no emissions and requires no petroleum-based fuel. Choosing to ride a bike instead of drive a car, especially for short trips, carries a surprisingly significant environmental benefit, since a large portion of vehicle emissions occur in the first few minutes of driving following a cold start. Plus, bicycling is good for you!

Water - To maximize water efficiency, the Doering Science Center is equipped with motion-activated low-flow faucets that use just 1/2 gallon of water per minute, low-flush toilets that use 1.6 gallons per flush. These efficiency features are projected to result in a water savings of 34%.

Recycling - Recycling is one of the easiest and most effective ways to benefit the environment and the community. Recycling areas located throughout the building make it easy and convenient for occupants to make green practices a part of our daily lives. Specific areas in the building are also dedicated for the collection and recycling of paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastics, and metals.

Recycled Content - Recycled-content materials reuse waste products that would otherwise be sent to landfills. Using materials with high recycled content also increases demand, thereby advancing the market for recycled goods. In the Doering Science Center, more than 20% of the building materials are made up of recycled content, including the structural steel, gypsum board (drywall), and ceiling tiles.

Indoor Air Quality - High quality indoor air can reduce the rate of respiratory disease, allergy, and asthma. Buildings with high indoor air and environmental quality are also pleasant places for people to occupy. To optimize indoor air quality, Doering Science Center uses construction materials and interior finish products, such as paints and sealants, with zero or a very low level of potentially harmful emissions. High-quality heating and cooling systems also ensure adequate ventilation and proper filtration throughout the building.

Commissioning - High-quality heating and cooling systems cannot achieve their goals unless they work as intended. To be sure that a building is operating properly once it is constructed, the Doering Science Center was commissioned at the basic and enhanced level established by the LEED program. Commissioning is a process that includes testing and adjusting the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems to ensure that all equipment meets design criteria. As part of this process, the building’s maintenance staff will also be trained to operate and maintain this advanced equipment.

Green Housekeeping - Many traditional cleaning products contain powerful chemicals that are potentially hazardous to maintenance staff, occupants, and the environment. These chemicals can also linger in the air, adversely impacting indoor air and environmental quality. Bryn Athyn College has made a commitment to use environmentally preferable cleaning products and practices in the building to help reduce the exposure and benefit the environment. This commitment to green housekeeping practices and products complements the efforts made during the building’s construction to optimize indoor air and environmental quality.

Building Envelope - The exterior skin of a building — walls, windows, and roof — play a critical part in its energy efficiency. This building features high value insulation in the walls and roof to keep the building warmer in winter and cooler in summer. The windows are also designed for energy efficiency, with Low Emissive (or “Low-E”) glazing. The Low-E coating is a microscopically thin, virtually invisible metal or metallic oxide layer deposited directly on the surface of one or more of the panes of glass. This coating reduces the infrared radiation from a warm pane of glass to a cooler pane, thereby lowering the u-factor of the window. Different types of Low-E coatings have been designed to allow for high solar gain, moderate solar gain, or low solar gain.

Energy Consumption - Throughout the building, the walls, windows, and roof have high insulation values to help reduce energy consumption. Energy-efficient lighting inside and out also helps to reduce electricity usage in the building. The building is also equipped with a lighting control system and occupancy sensors so that lights are ON only when needed. In the classrooms, lighting systems also dim automatically when there is enough natural daylight.

Energy Performance - When compared to general classroom buildings, science laboratory facilities use a considerable amount of energy. To minimize energy consumption, the Doering Science Center uses a wide variety of strategies, both simple and technological, throughout the building. One of the hidden technological strategies is the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system’s variable-frequency drives, or VFDs.
VFDs control the rotational speed of an electric motor by controlling the frequency of the electrical power supplied to the motor. In this building, VFDs on the fan motors and heating and cooling pumps save energy by allowing the volume of air moved to match the system demand. A projected 35% energy savings is projected for the Doering Science Center.