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Sustainability Project Showcase 3 of 3

University of Virginia Brandon Avenue Residence Multidisciplinary “Punch” for Higher Performance As design professionals, we are sometimes given the perfect opportunity to “punch above our weight” by exceeding a project’s sustainable-design goals while keeping costs at a minimum. The University of Virginia’s Brandon Avenue Residence was one such opportunity: our design achieved significantly higher energy-reduction results than those required by the university, yet came in under the original construction budget of $46 million.

“The Thornton Tomasetti team, both Structures and Sustainability, has been the perfect partner for achieving high-performance design. Their nimbleness of design exploration and analysis is unmatched, in my experience.” – Jean Carroon, Principal, Design, Preservation and Sustainability, Goody Clancy The 208,200-square-foot suite-style student residence is the first project constructed as part of the new Brandon Avenue Green Street redevelopment, envisioned as a vibrant community linked by green space and a working landscape. UVA’s green building goal was a minimum of LEED Silver certification and an energy use intensity (EUI) of 62 kBtu per square foot per year.

Our sustainability consultants and structural engineers teamed with Goody Clancy to deliver a design that met a higher LEED standard – Gold – and achieved very low Passive House energy-use targets. We advocated for higher sustainability goals throughout the design, devising new approaches until we found one that was right for the client. Using Design Explorer™, our in-house data-visualization tool, we developed optimal exterior shading configurations and identified the best sizes and shapes for shading, from energy, daylight, and peak-cooling-load perspectives – achieving high energy savings and minimizing costs for the mechanical systems. The result was a shading scheme with a specific configuration for each window orientation. This shading solution took us a long way toward surpassing the original energy-use goals, but the window selection pushed us over the top, achieving an EUI that was 32 percent lower than the target. We recommended very high-performing windows with a U-value of .28 – about 40 percent more efficient than code windows. Aiming for Passive House energy targets, we designed for a Passive House level frame system but selected double-glazed units rather than the triple-glazed units typical of Passive House design. These reduced costs significantly while still

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2017 Sustainability Report: Envisioning an Enduring Organization  

We believe that practicing corporate responsibility and sustainability is the right thing to do. Read our 2017 sustainability report to lear...

2017 Sustainability Report: Envisioning an Enduring Organization  

We believe that practicing corporate responsibility and sustainability is the right thing to do. Read our 2017 sustainability report to lear...