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The Art of Green Design
by Lucy Yau
Burchfield-Penney recognized for eco-friendly design and construction
Last month, the new Burchfield-Penney Art Center, designed by the architecture firm Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, became the first art museum to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in New York.
The measures the BPAC took to do this included the use of materials manufactured within 500 miles of Buffalo, special air monitors, water conservation methods, and replenishable and recyclable materials. LEED certifications are awarded through a third party after a thorough review by the US Green Building Council.
From the beginning of the design brocess, the BOPAC’s board of directors, curators, and contractors made energy efficiency and environmental freindliness a priority.
Special air diffusers calibrated precisely to heat and humidity settings that are sensitive to the art works, gauging the amount of CO2 and venting in fresh air when needed, rather than running constantly. Archived materials and art works are stored in environments cooled by non-ozone-depleting refrigerants.
“All the light switches are sensitive to light motion,” says Ted Pietrzak, BPAC’s director. “The lighting systems harvest natural light. Dimmable fluorescents sense the amount of light outside and only turn on and create a workable balance. Much of the office furniture is also made of recyclable materials.”
BPAC took measures to prevent flooding storm drains with rain runoff, which results in combined sewer overflows, polluting the Scajaquada Creek and ultimately the Niagara River.
“We have water devices that save water, dual flush toilets, waterless urinals. Under the parking lot there’s storm reservoirs to prevent storm water to go into the river,” says Pietrzak.
The collected water is used to irrigate the landscaping rather than using fresh water. This helps to keep maintenance costs and water bills to a minimum.
The roof of the BPAC is covered with a white membrane, to reflect sunlight during summer and thereby reduce air-conditioning use. The exterior zinc clad panels are anti-corrosive, extremely durable, and recyclable.
In the parking lot the BPAC has provided three electric outlets for visitors who drive electric vehicles. There’s a row of bike racks, too.
—lucy yaublog comments powered by Disqus
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