Published June 7, 2019
Oscar A. Silverman Library, UB’s 24-hour library that receives nearly 1.3 million visits per year, has been certified silver under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.
Located on the third floor of Capen Hall on the North Campus, Silverman Library was the first milestone of the university’s Heart of the Campus project, a UB 2020 initiative to enhance the student learning experience by creating a learning landscape in the center of the academic spine.
The library underwent a $7.2 million renovation that transformed the space into a vibrant, state-of-the-art, intellectual hub for the campus.
The LEED designation also recognizes the consolidation of services offered by UB’s Office of Accessibility Resources into a new space on the ground floor of Capen. The area, featuring new offices and testing rooms, received new carpeting, paint and lighting.
“By incorporating green building design standards into the renovation of Silverman Library, we have transformed an aging physical space into an eco-friendly building for our students, faculty, staff and community, says Beth Adelman, interim vice provost, University Libraries.
“The LEED certification is a wonderful example of the university’s commitment to incorporating sustainability initiatives into all aspects of our research, teaching and operations.”
Completed in August 2016, the redesign of the 45,000-square-foot space brought technology and the student experience to the forefront.
The library features two state-of-the-art classrooms, video-recording studios and media-editing stations, 17 group study rooms with either 80-inch or 55-inch screen monitors, 100 public computer stations, more than 1,000 power outlets, a gender-neutral bathroom, a lactation room for mothers and a café stocked with Starbucks products.
Enhancing sustainability was also a core focus of the facilities’ redesign, exemplifying the university’s continued dedication to lowering its environmental footprint across all three campuses.
“The great work done by our university of re-envisioning and renovating Silverman Library reinforces the university’s commitment to our triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) integrated resource planning, says Ryan McPherson, chief sustainability officer, Office of Sustainability.
“We are seeing reduced electricity costs, lower carbon emission produced, and better collaboration and productivity in the space from our students.”
To complete the transformations, the university sourced locally produced or recycled building materials. Nearly a third of the building materials — including wood paneling, drywall and metal framing — was constructed within 500 miles of the campus, and nearly 25% of the materials were recycled.
To reduce waste, various materials, such as light fixtures, were reused and brought up to current code requirements. More than 92% of construction waste — which amounted to 168 tons — was diverted from landfills.
Among the areas’ other green design elements were the reuse of existing space, the installation of an air station to monitor fresh air intake and improve air quality, and the reduction of water use by 20%.
The facilities’ were also recognized for their ease of access to public transportation through three UB and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority bus stations located within one-quarter mile.
“Our work with the renovation of Silverman Library caps off a proud decade of sustainable planning, design and development within UB Facilities, with all of our new buildings since 2003 achieving LEED recognition,” says Tonga Pham, associate vice president, University Facilities.