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Photo Credit: KC Kratt

    A first for New York

    The Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State is the first art museum in New York State to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s (LEED) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, having received a silver rating.

    What is LEED® ? 

    The (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ “encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.” LEED® is the nationally accepted benchmark for building performance in design, construction, and operation. Points are awarded in five key areas of human and environmental health: Sustainable Sites (SS), Water Efficiency (WE), Energy & Atmosphere (EA), Materials & Resources (MR), and Environmental Quality (EQ).

    Green Building Strategies

    Examples of steps taken during the design and construction of the Burchfield Penney which earned credits towards LEED ® certification are:

    Alternative Transportation,Low Emitting & Fuel Efficient Vehicles—SSc4.3

    According to the U.S. Government, American consumers use over twenty million barrels of oil per day (2005 estimate). That’s almost a quarter of the eighty million barrels per day consumed worldwide.
    The intent of this credit is to reduce the environmental impact caused by automobile use. The Burchfield Penney will reserve three parking spaces in the south east corner of the parking lot for alternative fuel vehicles.

    Development Density & Community Connectivity —SSc2.0

    By virtue of its location, the Burchfield Penney adds to the cultural density of the area and helps reinforce the notion of a Museum District. The proximity to Buffalo State College, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Olmsted Parks, the Richardson Complex, and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society encourages the use of pedestrian walkways and public transportation from one venue to another.

    Water Efficient Landscaping —WEc 1.1

    The plantings which surround the Burchfield Penney were selected for their ability to thrive in our climate without the addition of artificial irrigation. On the west side of the building adjacent to the main entrance to the museum is a an oak grove dedicated by Calvin Rand in memory of Patricia Rand. In the central parking median is another grove sponsored in honor of William J. Magavern II and his late wife, Louise Morris Magavern. These and other landscaping elements that surround the building consist of plants indigenous to the climate of the region.

    Enhanced Refrigerant Management —EAc4.0

    Maintaining consistent temperature and humidity levels is especially important in an art museum in order to better preserve the artwork on display or in storage. All of the refrigerants used, heating and cooling systems at the Burchfield Penney are free of Ozone depleting chemicals—so not only is the building’s interior environment maintained, but also Earth’s environment as well.

    Certified Wood—MRc7.0

    All of the wood products that went into the construction of the Burchfield Penney were certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests.

    Controllability of Spaces, Lighting —EQc6.1

    The charge of most museums is to not only provide a venue to view artwork, but also to protect and preserve artwork from damaging environmental conditions such as variable humidity and sunlight. Whereas daylight in the gallery spaces is minimized to protect the artwork; wherever possible, the building design provided for the introduction of daylight and views to the building occupants. All of the perimeter offices have large windows affording daylight and views out to the campus. A glass wall at the front of each office allows the daylight and the view to be shared by the interior workspaces as well.