In New York’s Hudson Valley region, the public liberal arts college SUNY New Paltz has earned a LEED Gold certification award for its newly completed Engineering Innovation Hub building. Designed by NYC-based firm Urbahn Architects, the $13.5 million project champions energy-efficient and resource-saving design, from its diversion of nearly 90% of the project’s construction waste from landfills to the installation of double-glazed, low-E windows throughout. The two-story, 19,500-square-foot building houses a bachelor’s degree program in mechanical engineering, teaching and research lab spaces and the Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center (HVAMC).

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Centrally located within the SUNY New Paltz campus near the existing Resnick Engineering Hall, the Engineering Innovation Hub features a handsome, gray-toned facade. The building has an energy-efficient rainscreen system created for minimizing heat loss along with high-performance and highly durable concrete panels by Taktl. The Hub sits on a 31,200-square-foot landscaped site specially engineered for responsible stormwater management practices. In addition to maximizing green space with native, low-maintenance vegetation, the site includes landscaped bioswales that direct rainwater into a 45-foot long retention pond.

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white and gray college building
lobby with red bench, white tables and chairs and a wall of glass

Water-saving strategies have also been implemented inside the building, where water-efficient plumbing fixtures have resulted in a 31% reduction in the consumption of potable water. Energy efficiency is further enhanced by the maximization of daylighting through double-glazed, low-E windows, high-efficiency LED fixtures automated for energy conservation and a high-performance HVAC system. All building materials have low-VOC emissions and were locally sourced or made with recycled content wherever possible. 

learning lab with large black tables and white and orange chairs
white, dark gray and orange college building at dusk

“The important lesson learned from this project is that an efficient, sustainable building can be designed within the confines of a limited budget,” said Nandini Sengupta, senior associate for Urbahn Architects. “Bring in seasoned design consultants early in the conceptual phase, and perform continuous energy modeling starting in the conceptual design phase. The final building envelope and mechanical systems designs have resulted in an energy cost savings of 28%.”

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Photography by Ola Wilk/Wilk Marketing Communications via Urbahn Architects