The Ben White Branch of the University Federal Credit Union in Austin, Texas is no ordinary bank - Jackson & McElhaney Architects' environmentally sensitive design garnered the project a 5-Star Rating from the Austin Energy Green Building program - the program’s highest possible rating. The local firm took a site-specific approach to the building's design that addressed orientation, glazing location, shading, landscaping, and more in order to create an inviting and sustainable project.
The bank branch is located within walking distance of a mixed-use development, and special attention was paid to the site in order to minimize impact and reduce the urban heat island effect. Extensive sun studies were completed, and awnings and shade devices were specially designed to minimize overheating and glare. The exterior was landscaped to create a pleasant and inviting space, and native vegetation was planted in order to reduce water usage. Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored within the large cistern tower outside. This harvested water is used for irrigation and to flush toilets, which helps reduce potable water use.
Materials were chosen based on their recycled content, sustainable certifications, local sources, low VOC content and overall sustainability. The bank exceeds energy code requirements by 41% and is achieved through a variety of strategies including a reflective roof coating, solar passive design, high-efficiency glazing, high performance insulation, and energy-efficient lighting. A photovoltaic system on the drive-through roof produces up to one-quarter of the building’s energy needs. The result is a delightful space that makes you actually want to go to the bank.
Images ©Jackson & McElhaney Architects