Last spring the workmanship and high sustainability standards used in building the Health Sciences Research Facility (HSRF) III earned the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) a coveted Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Award from the U.S. Green Building Council.
We asked Terence Morse, PE, executive director of Design and Construction at UMB, to explain why the award is important.
Many innovative and sustainable elements were included in the design and construction of the building, all intended to conserve energy and resources, and to utilize renewable materials. So we are helping the planet environmentally, saving money, while providing efficient work spaces essential to the 400 researchers, students, and staff in HSRF III.
Among the innovations were twoelements used for the first time in a UMB building — chilled beam technology and rainwater harvesting. Chilled beams are a more efficient way to cool spaces without the use of outdoor air. Rainwater harvesting collects and stores rainfall for use as makeup water for the rooftop cooling towers, reducing the use of domestic water. So again, we’re helping the environment and enjoying a cost savings.
There were other more commonly used sustainable initiatives used in the building — a green roof [vegetated surfaces to cool the heat island effect found in paved urban areas], daylight harvesting, occupancy controls for lighting and HVAC equipment, recycling of construction waste, and more.
Why should all this matter to UMB employees and business partners? Being green by using recycled and renewable products is justification in itself. Then there is the other green — as in dollars. The financial benefits of achieving a LEED Gold certification include annual savings of approximately $455,000 over similar buildings without this certification, plus a one-time BGE rebate of $260,000 for the inclusion of energy reduction measures.
So there is much to be proud of with this Gold LEED Award. I hope you share my satisfaction in a job well done by our team of architects, engineers, and designers as well as our consultants and contractors. C