December 7, 2010

Uytengsu Center Earns LEED® Gold Status

Wilfred Uytengsu,Sr. Center

Fort Wayne, Ind.—The Wilfred Uytengsu, Sr. Center has been awarded LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification.

The Uytengsu Center was built in 1857 and is the oldest building on the Indiana Tech campus. Rather than demolish the deteriorating landmark, the university embarked on a $3.1 million renovation to preserve and modernize the historic building.

The project utilized an integrated design approach, “green” materials, sustainable construction methods, and advanced technologies with an initial goal of achieving LEED® Silver Certification. As the design and construction project progressed, however, the renovation team realized that Gold Certification might be attainable.

“With the dedication of our design and construction team we were able to raise the bar and achieve more points than we initially anticipated,” said Viridian Architectural Design, Inc. President Terry W. Thornsbury.  “As an architect and LEED® Accredited Professional, it feels good knowing that we were able to save this Civil War-era building and have it become the second LEED® certified commercial building in Fort Wayne.”

Utilizing the LEED® 2009 version 3 Building Design and Construction Green Building Rating System, the project was able to achieve 65 point in 6 different categories:

  • Sustainable Sites: 13 points by minimizing the impact on the site and minimizing the heat island effect of the roof
  • Water Efficiency: 4 points by reducing water usage by 23% compared to American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards
  • Energy and Atmosphere: 27 points with a high performance building envelope insulation system enhanced commissioning, a closed-loop geothermal system, and high efficiency LED lighting; over 43% more efficient than the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 Standard
  • Materials and Resources: 5 points by diverting nearly 80% of the construction waste from
    the landfill, using recycled content material, and reusing hardwood and brick from the original building
  • Indoor Environmental Quality: 12 points through the use of low VOC products and materials, MERV 13 filtration systems, and user friendly HVAC and lighting controls systems
  • Innovation in Design: 4 points through exemplary performance throughout the rating system, a highly effective building envelope design and verification system, and employing a LEED® Accredited Professional in the project.

“Everyone involved with this project really embraced the challenge of bringing a building from the 19th century into the 21st century,” said Indiana Tech President Arthur E. Snyder. “This was a fantastic opportunity for us to save a piece of our history while exploring new technologies. Earning Gold Certification is a tremendous achievement for the many people who collaborated on renovating our administration building.”

The renovation project allowed the university to accomplish several goals:

  • Saving the historic building, which was in need of repairs and upgrades
  • Increasing learning opportunities for students and the community
  • Reorganizing the use of space throughout campus to centralize student services
  • Becoming a more energy-efficient and energy conscious campus

The design by Viridian Architectural Design preserved the exterior brick shell of the building, windows, and door openings but integrated a new floor and roof system as well as energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems. A $1.34 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy allowed the university to partner with WaterFurnace International on installation of an innovative geothermal heating and cooling system as part of the renovation.

The goal of this project was to provide a building that exceeded the current energy usage design code and standards, and the building is currently operating better than the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 Standard baseline. Operating cost is averaging $0.39 per square foot per month.

“The projected payback term will continue to decrease as we move into the winter months and the closed-loop geothermal system becomes more efficient in this all-electric building,” Thornsbury said. “With one of the most modern building information/automation systems in the area we can track the building’s energy usage on a minute by minute basis. If for any reason the building’s energy systems start to stray off of trend, we will be able to immediately address the issue to ensure that we maintain our minimal energy usage at all times.”

The Wilfred Uytengsu, Sr. Center provides space for the university’s leadership offices and serves as a living laboratory for the study of sustainability and energy efficiency. Indiana Tech offers a bachelor’s degree in energy engineering, and students and faculty will conduct research studies on the facility’s geothermal system. The first floor of the building includes a Campus Welcome Center, also named in honor of Uytengsu. It houses a gathering area for alumni and visitors, display cases with artifacts from the university’s history, and monitors that display information about the center’s energy usage.

Initial meetings to discuss potential ideas for saving the building began in January 2009.  Construction began in September 2009 and was completed in August 2010. The design and construction team for the renovation project included:



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