Published April 15, 2013
UB engineers and their students are improving the environment in Western New York and beyond.
It’s fitting, then, that the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ signature building, Barbara and Jack Davis Hall, would complement those efforts. The building, which officially opened last May, has been certified gold under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
Named after Jack Davis, a 1955 graduate of UB’s
engineering school, and his wife, the building is designed to
exceed the state’s energy efficiency code by 34 percent.
Among its eco-friendly features: an outdoor plaza that includes
water-efficient landscaping and methods to capture stormwater; a
small green roof; waterless urinals; bicycle racks; the use of
recycled building materials; and energy-efficient heating, cooling
and ventilation systems.
All combined to earn the gold designation, which is the second-highest grade under LEED guidelines.
“Davis Hall is notable not only for its environmentally friendly design and construction, but also because it has quickly become a vibrant focal point for UB’s engineering activities,” says Liesl Folks, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “The common areas that are available for students to gather and collaborate work wonderfully, and the labs and conference rooms are buzzing with academic activity. The building functions beautifully.”
With an exterior of copper-colored panels and glass, Davis Hall evokes the look of a microchip. It will help the school attract new faculty and students, as well as pursue groundbreaking research in nanotechnology, pattern recognition, bio-based security systems and other fields, Folks says.
The building houses two departments—Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical Engineering—as well as the Center of Excellence in Document Analysis (CEDAR) and the Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors (CUBS). It also serves as a gateway to the engineering school’s complex of buildings on the North Campus that support five other departments: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Biomedical Engineering; Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering; Industrial and Systems Engineering; and Chemical and Biological Engineering.
The wide range of departments features an equally diverse array of researchers and students, many of whom are helping to create a more sustainable world. For example, Vladimir Mitin, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering, is developing more efficient solar cells. Alan Rabideau, professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering, pioneered a way to remove nuclear waste from groundwater. A student club, Engineers for a Sustainable World, works to improve environmental quality on campus and in Western New York.
“The faculty, students and staff of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences continue to not only be campus leaders, but national sustainability trailblazers,” says Ryan McPherson, UB’s chief sustainability officer. “Davis Hall’s LEED-gold certification is but another verification of the school’s commitment to both finding innovative solutions to our global challenges, as well as lessening our own environmental footprint.”
Davis Hall, which received nearly $50 million in state funding, supports Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Build Smart NY initiative that requires state buildings to operate 20 percent more efficiently within the next seven years.
It is the latest in a series of building projects and renovations at UB recognized for their commitment to creating a more sustainable future. Other LEED-certified or LEED-designed buildings at UB include William R. Greiner Hall, UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, the Clinical and Translational Research Center, Creekside Village Community Center, the Educational Opportunity Center, and John and Editha Kapoor Hall.
The building projects, as well as UB’s plan to hire an additional 250 faculty members, are part of the UB 2020 strategy to transform UB into one of the nation’s premier public research universities.