The new Burchfield Penney Art Center, in Buffalo, New York, is the state’s first museum to earn LEED Silver certification. Opened in November in 2008, the new facility earned the necessary 26 points from their attention to sustainable site development, water conservation, reduced energy consumption, atmospheric impact, use of renewable materials and resources, improved indoor air quality and environmental design processes and education.

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The building, designed by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, has been carefully planned with construction manager LPCiminelli to meet green standards, with advice from Oregon based Brightworks Sustainability Advisors. Art museums in particular have a difficult time achieving LEED status, as art preservation requires strict temperature and climate control. However the Burchfield gallery was designed to receive USGBC certification from its inception.

The 65,000 square ft building meets a range of environmental challenges with grace – its temperature and climate control system is so sophisticated that only variations of two percent humidity and three degrees are allowed, a feat in itself for Western New York, which has very cold winters, and hot summers. The museum’s namesake, Charles E. Burchfield, celebrated his love of nature and the environment with his paintings. His oeuvre supports with the museum’s focus on contributing personally and corporately to sustainability. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of Burchfield’s nature watercolors, as well as 7,500 works by more than 600 other artists.

The construction of the museum is part of Buffalo’s commitment to revitalize the arts in the area. They have already updated the collection and mission of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, and plan to revamp the castle-like Buffalo Psychiatric Center into a boutique hotel in the future.

+ Burchfield Penney Art Center

Photos © Burchfield Penney Art Center