AUBURN – Auburn Research Park Building One has received local and national recognition for construction quality and its commitment to energy and environmental sustainability. The building is located within the 156-acre Auburn Research Park on the campus of Auburn University.
Completed just over a year ago, the 43,000-square-foot facility received awards for construction excellence from both the Alabama and national chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. Additionally, the facility was LEED-Gold certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) based on the integration of sustainable principles throughout the design and construction process. It is one of just three buildings in the state of Alabama to be designated with the Gold-level certification.
The design-builder for the building was Birmingham-based B.L. Harbert International and the building and site were designed by Gresham, Smith and Partners, a multidisciplinary design and consulting firm.
“Our experience in green construction allowed the team to maximize the design’s potential, elevating the facility’s status to qualify for LEED Gold Certification and provide ARTF with a more cost-efficient building,” stated Alex Edgeworth, LEED AP, senior project manager, B.L. Harbert International LLC. “We are very proud of the project’s recognition but more importantly, the owner now has an exceptional facility that will have minimal impact on the environment for years to come.”
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is based on a rating system that takes into consideration energy conservation with respect to systems and materials, efficient water handling systems in the building and landscaping, and refuse recycling procedures during construction and building operation.
“Our goal was to design a building that would help Auburn Research and Technology Foundation to achieve their mission of attracting first-rate businesses to Auburn while complementing the look and feel of Auburn University,” stated Jim Griffo, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, principal, Gresham, Smith and Partners. “Our design-build team of GS&P and B.L. Harbert International not only made decisions throughout the project to ensure requirements for LEED certification were met, but more importantly the team was also focused on making smart decisions that would result in minimizing the long-term impact of this development on the environment and our resources.”
The Auburn Research Park was officially initiated with completion of Building One in the park and is being developed and operated by the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation. Building on the research strengths of Auburn University, the long-range plan is to develop a mixed-use park with high-technology companies, university research facilities, and government agencies.
“We have set a high standard for construction and design for the research park while maintaining the image and character of Auburn University”, said John D. Weete, executive director of the park. “The university plans to begin constructing two additional buildings in the park in 2010. The first will house an MRI facility that will be used for clinical and research purposes and will part of the Ginn College of Engineering. The second building will house a variety of advanced research programs that is funded in part by a grant from the National Institute for Standards and Testing (NIST) through the College of Agriculture.”