Buildings and Grounds
Smith College has a distinctive patchwork character seen in the motley collection of buildings on campus. The campus is a work in progress, as we grow and change with the times. The approach to green building has two directions at Smith. Smith has piloted new construction projects that use state of the art technologies in green building and energy efficiency. Smith also honors its history by renovating its existing buildings and facilities. Facilities Management maintains and retrofits structures by using existing materials and responsibly managing the disposal and recycling of building materials at construction sites. The retrofitting projects reduce the negative impacts from resource extraction and material manufacturing.
Ford Hall: Engineering and Molecular Sciences Building
With its emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency through numerous design, construction and operational initiatives, Ford Hall is at the forefront of energy-efficient architecture. The 140,000-square-foot building incorporates numerous initiatives in its design and use in order to reduce the consumption of energy resources and the costs of operation and to serve as a teaching tool for sustainable design.
During the construction of Ford Hall, old materials and scraps from new construction were been sorted and recycled far above the projected level of 90 percent.
The Cogen Project
Cogeneration, also called Combined Heat and Power (CHP), is an efficient, clean and reliable approach to generating power and thermal energy from a single fuel source. By installing a cogeneration system designed to meet the thermal and electrical base loads of our campus, Smith will increase operational efficiency and decrease energy costs, while significantly reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Recycling Building Materials
Installing the new cogeneration turbine power facility required deconstruction (instead of demolition) and renovation of an old heating plant to house the new system. Similar efforts were part of the site preparation for Ford Hall, the new science and engineering building.
On all construction and renovation sites, old materials and scraps from new construction will be sorted and recycled to a projected level of 90 percent, easing the burden on landfills in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. The recycling also involves intact removal of items such as windows and doors, which are donated to area nonprofits including ReStore, a company that sells quality home improvement materials at very low prices.
Deconstruction of buildings includes the intact removal of equipment, such as heating and air-conditioning control and feed hardware, that can be used elsewhere on campus.
During the construction of Ford Hall, the new building for science and engineering, old materials and scraps from new construction were sorted and recycled far above the projected level of 90 percent.
A new 10-unit apartment-style dormitory with a central common area was recently built to house students enrolled in the Ada Comstock Scholars Program. Each unit has two bedrooms, a full bathroom, an eat-in kitchen and a living room. This building has been designed to minimize thermal and electrical energy loads by using a few simple techniques. The primary components are thick walls and ceilings with lots of insulation (R-50 and R-70 respectively) and tall triple-glazed windows. In addition, the building has direct-digital temperature controls, heat recovery ventilation and energy efficient (Energy Star) appliances and lighting. The additional insulation in the walls and ceiling has already paid for itself by allowing a reduction in the size of the heating and cooling systems. Conway House was built ready to accept solar panels for domestic hot water production.