Furman University Building was First in the State to Receive Gold Ranking

When Furman University in Greenville, S.C., decided to build Herman N. Hipp Hall, a new academic facility, the university decided up front to work toward achieving Gold LEED rating, which would make it the first building in the state to receive this certification. Now, seven years later, Hipp Hall continues to help the university save money and energy.

“The energy savings for Hipp Hall is roughly 30 percent more when compared to a similar building on campus. We are saving approximately $10,000 per year,” says Jeff Redderson, director of facilities services for Furman University.

Redderson explains that Johnson Controls, who had been providing the University with building management systems since 1996, conducted some comparisons to John’s Hall, another similar building on campus in the late 1990s, to determine how the building was performing. “The board of trustees wanted to see results. They were skeptical at first because years ago green buildings didn’t have the same reputation that they do now. The misconception was that it had to be an unusual building and not typical architecture,” says Redderson. “The University needed to build in keeping with its existing architectural style, but at the same time, it needed to be innovative with the use of modern building technology to get the desired energy savings.”

Redderson says that the University designed an energy model to look at factors such as daylight penetration and the role that the building envelope played in heating and cooling. “After several years of seeing reports on how the building was performing, the trustees were so happy with the results they insisted that all buildings on campus be built according to LEED standards,” says Redderson.

Completed in 2003, Hipp Hall is a three story, 30,000-square-foot facility designed by Greenville-based Craig Gaulden Davis Architects.

“We had the opportunity to specify high-performance materials, which gave us the reason to specify particular products that otherwise would have been optional,” says David Moore, a partner with Craig Gaulden Davis Architects and a LEED AP Allied Performance Professional. “The choices were there before and the reality is we could have specified these materials anyway but LEED was a way to formalize this,” he says.

Graham Architectural Products based in York, Pa., supplied 76 window units for the building. The Graham Series 2200 single hung windows are approximately 43 inches wide and 75 inches high, double lite, 1-inch insulating glass units with a fixed upper sash and an operable lower sash.

Hipp Hall achieved 40 points out of a possible 69 to achieve the LEED Version 2 Gold Certification Level with eight points credited under the Energy and Atmosphere category for optimized energy performance. The glass on the northeast face is insulating clear glass and the glass on the southwest face is insulating low-E glass with a green tint.

According to Bruce Croak, the technical services manager for Graham Architectural Products, 66 of the building’s window units had ¼-inch thick green tinted glass on the exterior sheet, with an air space, and a ¼-inch clear glass with hard coat low-E on the #3 surface. While the other ten window units have a ¼-inch thick clear exterior sheet, with an air space, and a ¼-inch hard coat low-E on the #3 surface. The solar heat gain coefficient for the tinted windows is 0.33 with a visible transmittance of 43 percent. The clear glass windows have a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.58 and a visible transmittance of 58 percent. The windows’ overall U-value is 0.57.

To help give the windows their high degree of thermal performance, Keymark Corporation utilized a pour and debridge technology by Azon USA, a manufacturer of specialty chemicals and equipment based in Kalamazoo, Mich. According to information from the company, a thermal barrier can provide an energy-saving option to economically deliver the desired level of energy conservation. Structural thermal barrier technology is applied to the production of aluminum fenestration systems, as well as warm edge spacers for thermally improved insulating glass units.

Patrick Muessig, vice president of global technical operations, says Azon provides molds for customers to fill with liquid, two-component polymer, which results in a solid plaque. The plaque is then forwarded to the Azon research department for evaluation. Using multiple samples cut from the customer’s poured plaque, the Azon lab technicians evaluate the cured polymer for strength and permanency. The goal is to help extruders to produce a structural, thermal barrier polymer that meets or exceeds industry standards.

Redderson adds that the university’s objectives were to minimize the building’s environmental footprint and to pursue the latest technologies in terms of energy conservation and building operational efficiency.