Architects: Spillman Farmer Architects
Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
Project area: 42,000 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Spillman Farmer Architects
Spillman Farmer Architects have achieved dual LEED© Gold certifications for the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park(LVIP) office building and Spillman Farmer Architects’ offices on the former site of the Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem PA, the largest privately owned brownfield site in the United states. The dual Gold certifications place the projects among a small group in Pennsylvania and across the United States to have achieved dual recognition for integrated sustainable design of a core and shell building with a commercial interior fit out.
The Gold Certifications were presented to LVIP and Spillman Farmer Architects by the Executive Director of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, Janet Milkman, at an event held on Tuesday October 26th. In presenting the Gold certifications, Milkman explained, “It is significant to have a project earn both Core & Shell and Commercial Interiors certifications. The shared goal of LEED certification helps both teams work together to achieve the goal in an integrated way, and it takes the integrated design approach, which is the key to sustainable design, to the next level. To give you a sense of SFA and LVIP’s accomplishments, of the 85 LEED certified buildings in our region, only 14 are gold and there are only two other LEED Gold buildings in the Lehigh Valley. SFA’s office is the first LEED for Commercial Interiors project in the Lehigh Valley.”
The 42,000 square foot LVIP Office Building earned Gold certification under the U. S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Core & Shell™ rating system. The building features numerous environmentally friendly design elements and technologies. For example, the building is oriented along an east-west axis to take advantage of natural daylight yet minimize heat gain and solar glare. To improve energy efficiency and occupants’ comfort, sun shades on the south façade and high performance windows, walls, and roof were included. To ensure high indoor environmental quality for the occupants, no-and low-VOC paints, adhesives, and sealants were used. Energy-saving lighting and water-saving fixtures are also incorporated in the facility. In addition, more than 20% of the building materials are composed of recycled content and more than 30% of materials were manufactured locally or regionally (within 500 miles of the site).
Spillman Farmer Architects was the architect for the office building and became its first anchor tenant. The firm’s offices, encompassing 7,700 SF on the second floor of the building, were designed to take advantage of the sustainable design strategies of the building and further incorporate environmentally sound strategies throughout its design and construction through the LEED for Commercial Interiors™ rating system.
Throughout Spillman Farmer Architects’ space are many examples of sustainable design. For example, construction and finish materials were selected based upon evaluation of several characteristics, including reused and recycled content, zero or low off gassing of harmful air emissions, zero or low toxicity, high recyclability, durability, longevity, and local and sustainable production. Open studio areas are equipped with a lighting control system that uses a photosensor to detect available daylight and brighten or dim the lights accordingly (called “daylight harvesting”). The ventilation systems are also state of the art to make the indoor air more pleasant and healthy. Perhaps the most visible of all sustainable design strategies is the reception desk, crafted from steel I-beams salvaged from Bethlehem Steel. The I-beams, which bear the Bethlehem Steel rolling stamp and the original steelworker’s fabricator’s handwritten notes, are a nod to the history of the site and the firm, which was founded in Bethlehem in 1927.
Recognizing LVIP and Spillman Farmer Architects’ accomplishments, Bethlehem’s Mayor John Callahan said “LVIP and Spillman Farmer Architects have together demonstrated that new development, done wisely and well, can have a positive impact on our economy while helping us create a sustainable future through green building design and construction. This new building is highly energy efficient, minimizes water use, encourages the use of alternative transportation, and offers a healthy indoor environment for people. It is an outstanding contribution to the City of Bethlehem’s and Pennsylvania’s infrastructure.”
PPL Corporation, which sponsored LVIP’s and Spillman Farmer Architects’ LEED registration through PPL’s Economic Development Partnership LEED Buildings Grant Program, established to incentivize green building and energy efficiency in the region. Earlier this year, the LVIP Office Building was also recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency with an EnergySTAR label, designating it among the top 25% of office buildings in terms of energy efficiency when compared to the national average.