LEED Gold Pulichino Tong Business Center Recognized for Sustainability

University officials accept a sustainability award at a Lowell City Council meeting Image by Ed Brennen
Members of the university's Facilities and Sustainability departments pose with Lowell city officials after receiving a Green Design Award for the Pulichino Tong Business Center.

By Ed Brennen

The City of Lowell thinks there’s a lot to like about the university’s new Pulichino Tong Business Center.

The LEED Gold-certified building, which opened last April and is home to the Manning School of Business, received the Green Design Award from the city at its annual Sustainable Lowell Awards.

Representatives from Facilities Management and the Office of Sustainability accepted the award from Lowell Mayor William Samaras during a reception at City Hall. The university was also formally recognized at an ensuing City Council meeting.

“We’re proud to be able to contribute to the greening of the city,” Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Facilities Thomas Dreyer said as he accepted the award on behalf of Chancellor Jacquie Moloney and the university. “Our sustainability efforts go far beyond buildings, from transportation to storm water management. We try to set an example and practice what we preach – and teach.”

The Pulichino Tong Business Building won a Lowell sustainability award Image by Robert Benson Photography
The LEED Gold-certified Pulichino Tong Business Center was recognized by the city with a Green Design Award.

Now in their sixth year, the Sustainable Lowell Awards are run by the city’s Lowell Sustainability Council (LSC). Originally known as the Green Building Commission, the LSC’s mission is to promote citywide sustainability through education, communication and collaboration.

Pulichino Tong recently became the second building on campus to receive LEED Gold certification, joining its North Campus neighbor, the Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center (ETIC). The university also has four LEED Silver buildings: University Crossing, University Suites, the McGauvran Center and the Health and Social Sciences Building.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the rating system used by the U.S. Green Building Council to evaluate the environmental performance of buildings and encourage sustainable design.

“We’re very excited about UMass Lowell constructing its sixth LEED-certified building in the city in the last four years,” said Jay Mason, chair of the Lowell Sustainability Council. “It’s a huge accomplishment, and we’re honored to have you in our city doing these kinds of projects.”

Tom Dreyer accepts a Lowell Sustainability Award from Mayor William Samaras Image by Ed Brennen
Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Facilities Thomas Dreyer, third from right, accepts the Green Design Award from Lowell Mayor William Samaras.

The 54,800-square-foot Pulichino Tong building includes sustainable features such as occupancy sensors and daylight harvesting, “chilled beams” for heating and cooling, and a solar wall on the back of the building to preheat the intake air.

“The solar wall was an inexpensive experiment,” said Ann Storer, former program manager for the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), who worked with the university and the city on the Pulichino Tong project. “There are not a lot of those solar walls in the state, but it’s worked out very well.”

Storer, who joined Facilities Management last summer as senior planner of capital and space, said the decision to use efficient gas-fired boilers at Pulichino Tong, rather than tying the building into the steam system on North Campus, was also a key sustainability element.

“It’s critically important that we’re working with the city on sustainability issues,” said Director of Sustainability Ruairi O’Mahony, who submitted the award application for the Pulichino Tong building in October. “Whether it’s transportation or facilities, there’s an outcome benefit for both the city and the university.”