Burlington, Vt. – PC Construction served as the general contractor for the University of Vermont’s renovated George D. Aiken Center, constructing the university’s first LEED Platinum certified building and only the sixth LEED Platinum building in the state of Vermont.
The $13 million center, home to UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, includes 37,000sf of renovations and a 2,300sf addition to house a solarium and an EcoMachine.
The innovative building envelope design had never been constructed before and presented significant challenges.
“Building a new LEED certified structure is one thing; renovating an existing, 30-year-old building to LEED Platinum standards is quite another,” said Jay Fayette, senior vice president for PC Construction. “We’re proud of our team’s efforts to construct this unique and highly-efficient project and the first LEED platinum building for the University of Vermont.”
Specifically, the building envelope represents energy performance that is over 40% more efficient than ASHRAE standards. PC Construction developed a matrix of 23 products, installed or applied by six subcontractors, which it then verified for compatibility. Prior to construction, hundreds of hours were spent constructing a mock-up of the proposed design for review and coordination.
Once construction began, dimensional inconsistencies in the existing building were discovered that resulted in modification of construction details. When the air leakage compliance tests were performed upon completion of the project, PC Construction’s work had resulted in leakage rates 25 percent lower than the university’s goal.
In all, the Aiken project earned 60 of 69 potential points in the LEED evaluation, or 87% of the total. Although the LEED scoring system has changed over the years, no other Vermont building has achieved such a high percentage of the total points possible. In the rating system used for the Aiken Center, version 2.2, 52 LEED points earns a LEED Platinum designation.
Additionally, some of the components specifically associated with the LEED Platinum rating include: a green roof with capability to test micro-watershed strategies for stormwater management; a high performance building envelope and windows for occupant comfort; environmental/energy monitoring systems to provide data via the web; 66% of associated wood from FSC certified vendors; wood for millwork harvested from UVM’s research forest in Jericho, Vermont; enhanced natural ventilation and natural lighting; low or no VOC sealers and adhesives; water efficient plumbing fixtures; and approximately 85% (1220 tons) of construction waste diverted from the landfill.
“I am very proud that the George D. Aiken Center has achieved the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest honor, the LEED platinum designation,” said UVM President Tom Sullivan.”