William Maclay - Vermont Architects and Planners
Choices in Sustainability
Bennington Superior Court & State Office Building - Bennington, VT

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We are currently working on the Bennington State Office Building providing programming, space planning and complete architectural and engineering design services. During programming and space planning we lead numerous meetings with multiple state departments and completed an extensive programming process . We have maintained tight budgets and schedules.
 
For this renovation and addition we sited the addition to maximize solar heating and minimize cooling. Lobby spaces and large public circulation corridors were located on the south to take advantage of the sun and views of the Bennington Monument.
 
Maclay Architects, a Vermont-based architectural firm specializing in green and healthy building design, was selected to design the Bennington District Courts and State Office Building. The firm has partnered with RicciGreene Associates, a New York-based architectural firm that specializes in design for court houses and complex government office buildings.
 
The renovations and reconstruction will house several state functions including the District Courts, Bennington County’s State’s Attorney Office, Department of Corrections, Agency of Human Services and the Department of Labor.
 
A geothermal heating and cooling system,   new windows, and greatly increased insulation values, are among the energy-saving systems being incorporated. A silver LEED rating is anticipated for the building.
 
Project design, permitting and constuction documents are complete. Bidding will occur in the late summer of 2010 and a construction start is anticipated in October.

Maclay Architects partnered with RicciGreene Associates, a New York-based architectural firm that specializes in design for court houses and complex government office buildings for the renovation and reconstruction of the Bennington Superior Court and State Office Building. Maclay Architects led numerous meetings with multiple state departments and completed an extensive programming process while maintaining tight budgets and schedules.

The renovated building is one of the healthiest in the state of Vermont. The vision for the project focused on a healthy indoor work environment for state employees and a high-performing, energy-efficient building. The concept of a net-zero ready building illustrates a leap forward in energy standards for the state. It describes a building which consumes so little energy that it is cost effective to make the building net-zero in the future, offsetting this annual energy consumption with renewable energy. 

Developing a healthy building was of utmost importance for this project, as the building had been previously shut down when multiple state workers contracted sarcoidosis. Because these health concerns warranted a full renovation, the state seized the opportunity to address other issues in the building, including the efficiency of the court program, deferred maintenance and the high energy consumption of the building.

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The Bennington Superior Courthouse and State Office Building is designed to provide office space, both open and closed, for 161 state employees from 9 different state departments. Along with the office space, the building includes four courtrooms, two large waiting areas and eight holding cells.

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A geothermal heating and cooling system, solar hot water, new windows, and greatly increased insulation values, are among the energy-saving systems being incorporated. Occupancy sensors, daylight harvesting controls, window sensors and high efficiency fixtures further reduce energy consumption. A blower door measured air sealing of 0.11 cfm50/sf ranks the building among the top 10% of buildings tested in Vermont. Local and FSC certified materials were incorporated as much as possible.

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All of these measures contribute to an anticipated LEED silver rating, and a minimum 13% rate of return on energy investments. Energy modeling predicts a 78% reduction in energy consumption over the existing facility, saving $180,000 in annual energy costs over the existing building. The building is anticipated to be the best performing state office building, using no on-site fossil fuel combustion for space heating or cooling.