Ben Franklin TechVentures2
Ben Franklin TechVentures2 is a 47,000 sf addition to an existing Bethlehem Steel Building on the Lehigh University Mountaintop Campus. The building was designed to The Energy Star program and received LEED Gold certification under the 2.2 version of New Construction guidelines (NCv2.2) in spring of 2013.
Special features to the building addition include PV panels on the white roof which generate more than 8% of the building’s energy needs, a Lutron electronic shading system which keeps the heat in the building during the night time and provides the occupants with comfort during the day. All materials were carefully selected according to their recycled content, their non off-gasing values, and regional availability. During the project, scrap metal and wood debris were diverted from the landfill and recycled, which resulted in an 82% reduction in construction waste. To ensure a healthy environment for the future occupants, an air quality management plan was implemented. This plan provides fresh air from the outside when sensors detect low oxygen levels within the building.
An electronic dashboard in the Lobby shows occupants and visitors the hourly, daily, and monthly data on the building’s energy and water savings, including energy production by the roof top PV panels. The occupants can actively seek information on the dashboard, learn about the building, and get tips to help our environment at the office or at home.
The top floor provides meeting space with stunning views through large windows over Bethlehem. The highly insulated envelope ensures the building does not lose energy thru these openings. A green cleaning program continues the environment healthy for all occupants by use of non-toxic cleaners.
Since its opening, the building has received numerous prestigious awards which include:
- Pennsylvania Economic Development Association Project of the Year in 2011
- First Place in the US EPA 2011 Energy Star Challenge
- Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal’s Best of 2011 “Favorite/Most Unusual Project”
- 2011 AIA Award of Merit
As part of the Administration’s stimulus package, Ben Franklin TechVentures2 was awarded a $6 million Federal ARRA Grant that was administered by the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Agency (EDA). The project was viewed as so high profile that Vice-President Joe Biden and Representatives from the Department of Commerce came to Bethlehem to preside over the official groundbreaking ceremony.