Ben Franklin TechVentures® (BFTV) hosted an event celebrating its building expansion earning the Gold rating under the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for new construction. The event was held on Tuesday afternoon, June 25th, in the Lutron Lobby of Ben Franklin TechVentures, 116 Research Drive, on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus. LEED is an internationally recognized standard that promotes sustainability in building design, construction, and operation.
The event featured remarks by Janet Milkman, Executive Director of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, as well as R. Chadwick Paul, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania; Christa Duelberg-Kraftician, AIA, LEED AP+BD&C, Principal, Spillman Farmer Architects; and Anthony Scarcia, LEED AP, President and Chief Operating Officer of Allied Building Corporation. The celebration culminated with the unveiling of the official crystal plaque by Chad Paul.
“We congratulate Ben Franklin Technology Partners for their decision and their leadership in building a LEED building in Ben Franklin TechVentures,” said Milkman. “TechVentures is the first LEED Gold certified laboratory in the Lehigh Valley, which is important because labs can be more difficult to certify. TechVentures is the largest building to achieve LEED certification in Bethlehem since 2011, and it received the most points for any LEED NC 2.2 project in Bethlehem.”
The USGBC developed LEED to facilitate the identification and implementation of sustainable and environmentally-friendly design and construction. LEED provides third-party verification of green buildings. Participation in the voluntary process demonstrates leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility.
Ben Franklin TechVentures is owned and managed by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Ben Franklin’s business technology incubator program, among the first in the nation, has graduated 55 successful companies that together have created more than 5,400 jobs and grossed more than $984 million in annual revenue last year. Ben Franklin and TechVentures have earned 10 awards for technology-based economic development and energy conservation at the facility.
The 47,000-square-foot expansion of the Ben Franklin TechVentures incubator/post-incubator facility was designed as a state-of-the-art “green” building. Ben Franklin’s focus on environmental sustainability in its new facility reflects an understanding of the tremendous importance of saving energy costs, reducing dependence on foreign fuels, and expanding clean energy production to create energy-related jobs in the state. LEED buildings benefit the environment, the economy, and society.
In order to earn LEED certification, buildings must satisfy LEED prerequisites and earn LEED credits by employing sustainable strategies such as using low-VOC emitting materials and diverting construction waste from landfills. Based on the number of credits they receive, qualified buildings can achieve a status of Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.
The Ben Franklin TechVentures expansion has a photovoltaic solar array on its rooftop and the latest energy-management and light-harvesting technologies, produced by Coopersburg, PA-based Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., integrated throughout the building. Both the original Ben Franklin TechVentures renovation and the TechVentures expansion projects engaged Spillman Farmer Architects for design services and Allied Building Corporation for construction management. Brinjac Engineering was the consulting mechanical/electrical engineer, Barry Isett & Associates was the site and structural engineer, and The Stone House Group was the LEED commissioning agent.
About the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP), an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, creates and retains highly paid, sustainable jobs by linking companies with experts, universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation. BFTP/NEP’s strategy encompasses three key areas:
1. developing early-stage technology-oriented companies;
2. helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership; and
3. promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.
Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP (benfranklin.org) has created 15,820 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and retained 21,645 existing jobs, started 442 new companies, and developed 1,189 new products and processes. BFTP/NEP is headquartered in and owns Ben Franklin TechVentures, and also owns the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners has returned $3.60 to the Pennsylvania treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program.