Vertegy Helps Washington University’s New Brown School Of Social Work Facility Earn Leed Platinum Certification

St. Louis-based Vertegy, which has already helped a significant number of buildings in the St. Louis region earn LEED certification, has added another local project to its portfolio. The sustainability consulting firm was recently notified by the U.S. Green Building Council that the George Warren Brown School of Social Work’s Hillman Hall building, which was constructed as part of an expansion on Washington University’s Danforth Campus, has earned LEED Platinum certification. Vertegy has consulted on over 50 LEED Certified buildings since its founding in 2005 and that number now includes 20 LEED Platinum facilities.

The Brown School, which now encompasses three buildings, is the top-rated social work school in the country. The addition of Hillman Hall doubled the teaching, research and program space for the school’s social work and public health programs. The new building consists of approximately 104,000 square feet on four occupied levels, plus a mechanical basement. At the heart of the building is the two-story Maxine Clark and Bob Fox Forum, a 4,000-square-foot multi-purpose venue for banquets, town hall meetings, lectures and conferences. The space also serves daily as a lounge and informal dining space and is located next to the Café’, which also includes its own dining area. The building also features classrooms, offices, study spaces and a rooftop garden.

The expansion was designed and developed to include sustainable design principles emphasizing energy efficiency, water conservation, regional materials, long-term durability, air quality, comfort, connection to nature, wellness and future adaptability. As sustainability consultant on the project, Vertegy played a key role in helping the team reach its sustainability goals. To facilitate LEED implementation and documentation, LEED meetings were held weekly with all critical members of the project team, including the owner and contractor.

Sustainable efforts were made to retain and treat water on-site through vegetated swales, rain gardens, and ultra-low flow fixtures. Access to daylight and views was optimized for learning and working spaces.  Washington University’s campus standards include achieving 30 percent over ASHRAE 90.1 (a standard benchmark for commercial building energy codes in the United States), along with an extensive measurement and verification program. In line with the university’s vision, the Brown School made significant strides in energy efficiency, overcoming the substantial challenge of the school’s District Energy System. Extensive energy modeling was performed to inform design decisions, and on-site energy production strategies were employed.

“Brown School’s vision to be innovative, impactful and to promote a sustainable and universally accessible environment is definitely reflected in the design of the new expansion,” said Thomas Taylor, principal of Vertegy. “We were thrilled to be such an integral part of helping Washington University and the project team meet their sustainable goals. This new state-of-the-art facility will not only provide a healthier and more energy-efficient environment for students, staff and visitors but will also serve as a model for other college campuses for years to come.”

Other members of the project team included Alberici Constructors; Moore, Rubell, Yudel (design architect); Mackey Mitchell Architects (consultant architect); Andropogen (landscape architect); Buro Happold (MEP, life safety, MEP sustainability consultant); Cole Engineering (civil engineer); KPFF (structural engineer); Sextant (AV consultant); KJWW (commissioning authority) and Accentech (acoustic consultant).

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