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Construction & DesignGreen Building

Urbahn Architects brings Gold to SUNY’s green efforts

The new Engineering Innovation Hub (EIH) building at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz has earned a coveted LEED Gold Certification award from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Urbahn Architects led the design team for this $13.5 million project. The general contractor was PC Construction.

The two-story, 19,500 s/f building houses the College’s relatively new and highly popular bachelor’s degree program in mechanical engineering and includes innovative teaching and research lab spaces, as well as the Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center (HVAMC) at SUNY New Paltz.

SUNY New Paltz initially placed a goal of LEED Silver for the building design. According to Natale V. Barranco, AIA, LEEP AP, Urbahn Architects Principal-in-Charge, “The design of this project to meet LEED criteria was a challenge, because the construction budget was relatively modest.

“However, every step of the project, from preliminary design through construction, was made with the goal of achieving the highest LEED rating possible in mind, and we were able to meet the criteria for Gold certification through a collaborative effort with the entire project team.”

“The important lesson learned from this project is that an efficient, sustainable building can be designed within the confines of a limited budget,” adds Urbahn Architects’ Senior Associate Nandini Sengupta, LEEP AP. “Bring in seasoned design consultants early in the conceptual phase, and perform continuous energy modeling starting in the conceptual design phase,” she advises designers and owners.

“For this project, the client, design team, construction manager, and contractor were all very methodical from the beginning to enable the building to achieve a high LEED rating. The final building envelope and mechanical systems designs have resulted in an energy cost savings of 28 percent.”

The EIH is centrally located within SUNY New Paltz’s campus, near the existing Resnick Engineering Hall. The building supports the College’s mechanical engineering program that has seen rapid enrollment growth since its 2014 launch, as well as the HVAMC, described below.

Urbahn designed the EIH to allow for a potential expansion of the building to accommodate this academic programming and support collaboration between the College and local industry. The hub directly addresses the region’s need for talented engineers and prepares students to thrive in forward-looking careers.

The Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center (HVAMC), which has been providing education, guidance, CAD design, advice on materials used for additive manufacturing, and 3D printing services to SUNY New Paltz students and educators as well as to entrepreneurs and businesses since 2013, operates a laboratory and offices in the new building. The HVAMC’s collection of 3D printers constitutes some of the most advanced technology at any academic laboratory in the United States.

 The College is the first institution of higher education in the nation to be designated a Stratasys-MakerBot Additive Research & Teaching or SMART lab by Stratasys, the world’s leading 3D printing hardware and systems company.

The Hub’s project team also includes mechanical and electrical engineer Vanderweil Engineers, plumbing engineer CSA Group, structural engineer Leslie E. Robertson Associates (LERA), LEED consultant YR&G, civil engineer BET Engineering Consultants, landscape designer Edgewater Design, lighting designer Lumen Architecture, and cost estimator Ellana, Inc.

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