The Gold Standard

Barton Malow has long been committed to sustainable building and the overall benefit it brings to the community. Blending seamlessly into the mountainside setting, the new five-building Visitor and Smith History Center at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s estate in Charlottesville, Virginia, earned LEED Gold Level Certification through environmentally friendly building features, extensive landscaping efforts and attention to the overall aesthetic of the structure.

The entire complex uses geothermal pumps for heating and cooling, the most environmentally friendly source available today – and also the most economical in the long term. The team took pride in protecting the environment, and providing the client with the most cost-effective and efficient building options available, while incorporating the needs of many user groups.

Toward that end, meeting LEED standards for air purity was especially important in the Smith Education Center, where schoolchildren file in and out in large numbers. Better air quality requires extra outside air, and additional filtration, which can potentially increase overall building energy consumption. But the building uses innovative energy-recovery systems to offset those potential impacts to cost. An energy-recovery unit captures heat from exhaust ducts; also, low-emitting paints and sealants improve air quality.

Barton Malow and architect Ayers/Saint/Gross also made extensive use of local and sustainable products to keep the process green. This included fieldstone from nearby Greene County, recycled pine flooring, wood products derived from certified, sustainably managed forests, and landscaping indigenous to the region.

The beautiful new building is already a local landmark, meeting client needs and bettering the community, the environment and the nation. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth."

Sustainable Highlights

  • A green roof to reduce impervious cover and increase on-site filtration
  • Water-efficient landscaping and building water-use reduction
  • 75% recycled construction waste including wood, metal, concrete, masonry and cardboard
  • Maximized daylighting to reduce artificial lighting usage and energy costs
  • No- and low-VOC products to reduce indoor air contaminants