Location Selden, NY
Size 68,500 ft²
Completed 2013 (expected)
Program Classrooms, student gathering areas, and an interior amphitheater
The 68,500-square-foot Life Sciences Building at Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) in Selden, New York, is the first new construction on campus in 30 years. “This is a big step for them,” says Roger Smith, president and founder of BBS Architects, Landscape Architects, and Engineers, the firm behind the highly green campus addition.
Much of the work BBS does involves public schools and higher education, and much of it is green—a majority of its recent buildings are LEED certified. “There may not be another firm in the country doing as many LEED projects at one time,” Smith says. With construction on the Life Sciences Building slated to begin this year, Smith feels sure the team will attain LEED Silver certification, though he says it is shooting for LEED Gold.
Architect BBS Architects, Landscape Architects, and Engineers
Client Suffolk County Community College
Some of the LEED points will come from a contained drainage system, storm-water-collection swales with natural vegetation, and high levels of insulation throughout the structure. “We’ll also be able to actually monitor the mechanical systems’ efficiency in real time,” Smith explains. “The data will be displayed on screens throughout the building, so students can view how the building is operating. It’s a very cool feature. You can literally walk around and watch the building work.”
Smith was first drawn to green technology in college. “As a student I took a number of solar-energy and passive-energy-design classes,” Smith says, and more than three decades later, he’s incorporating those same green ideas into the work his firm does.
“We’ve been able to take a lot of the energy-efficiency-increasing passive-design concepts—intrinsic in LEED practices—and telegraph them and highlight them in our projects,” he says.
BBS has won numerous awards for the work it’s done within the public-school sector, including two awards in the Site Selection & Development category of School Planning & Management magazine’s 2011 Sustainability and Innovation Awards program for the renovation and expansion of the Southampton Elementary School and the renovation of the Mullarkey Hall at Long Island University’s Brookville campus. The magazine also recognized BBS’s work on Suffolk County’s Life Sciences Building with an award in the Building as a Teaching Tool category.
Smith says designing a green building is not difficult. “In fact, it’s quite simple, and taking into effect good building systems should be every designer’s priority,” he says. “As we are experiencing ever-increasing energy costs, it’s even more imperative that we look at the footprint we’re creating. The buildings we develop and operate today can be much more sustainable, and you need to design all your projects to be energy-efficient, regardless of a potential LEED certification.”
Certification LEED Gold (expected)
Materials Recycled content, locally sourced
Lighting Solar-photovoltaic glass, occupancy controls
Water Contained drainage system, storm-water-collection swales with natural vegetation
A design contest held by Suffolk County Community College is what landed BBS the Life Sciences Building project, and since then, BBS has been able to work hand-in-hand with the college’s staff in developing each of the science rooms and electric spaces.
Mobile learning as well as dedicated technology will be employed, and informal student interaction is encouraged by the wide corridors facing the window-wall façade that will also be designed to harvest solar energy. “With our projects, we’re spending time really looking at sustainable, doable, and durable materials so that our clients are paying a reasonable amount of the first cost and get a great, long-term operational return on that first dollar,” Smith says. “It’s about how we can make our projects doable, practical green. That’s an easy way to put it. You can’t just close your eyes to it. You have to be able to do it.”
As BBS has been leading the charge in sustainable design of educational facilities, the firm is pushing the green envelope across the board. Having a substanial portfolio of LEED-certified projects and about a third of its staff holding LEED AP credentials, the firm is well positioned to define the sustainability path for the architectural- and engineering-design industries in the years to come.