Stafford Associates Office Building, Setauket, NY
LEED CS 2.0 Gold 

Architect:  Robert Heins, RA
LEED Consultant:  Peter Caradonna Architecture and Planning

Role:  LEED Charette, and Design Documentation


The decision to pursue LEED certification for the design and construction of Stafford Associates Computer Specialists Inc. new headquarters was an easy decision to make for the $7 million, 30,000 square foot, facility.  In addition to increased energy performance the facility will provide light filled, healthy interiors for its employees and tenants.  The process to encompass all its challenges was an entirely different approach compared to conventional data centers, a challenge Stafford was willing to take on.  The result is a new office building will house the Stafford company and create space for other sustainable-minded tenants.

Developing an office building inside a traditional New England style Historic District can present a host of challenges, but creating an office building to house a mission critical Data Center within an historical district that is also pursuing LEED Gold Certification required a precise knowledge of computer network facilities and a sensitive design approach to create a facility in tune with its surroundings.  Design efforts were pursued to further reduce the environmental and financial burdens of maintaining consistent temperature control within the data center space and office areas by skinning the exterior walls and roof with environmentally friendly structural insulated panels (SIPS). SIPs provide an insulation envelope 40-60 percent greater than conventional wall and roof building systems. The Stafford project required an experienced team to incorporate the custom designed system to satisfy performance and operational needs.

The new building uses 12 percent less energy than a conventionally built structure of the same size. The lower 

than anticipated energy savings comes largely from the fact that the building is compact for the size of the data center, a plug load that remains constant for the base case and design case of the Energy Model.  It features An open-loop geothermal system along with energy efficient Roof top units, selected with the help of iterative Energy Modeling.  Water saving features include an irrigation system that stores rainwater for watering its native landscaping and lawns and low flow interior fixtures that realize nearly 40% water savings. 

The building highlights many features that were implemented with the goal of energy conservation. In addition to the highly insulating SIP wall construction, are Energy Star windows, a flat white roof to minimize heat gain and reduce the Heat Island Effect,  high efficient rooftop units with VAV boxes for greater user control, and daylight harvesting.  A single large skylight in the buildings multi-story atrium helps bring natural daylighting into the buildings common areas. The skylights adds significantly to the atmosphere within the building.  Finishes in both the Stafford office and the core spaces of the building have been chose for their sustainable attributes, such as recycled content and low-toxicity. In addition, tenants are required  to implement some of these features as part of their tenant agreement. 
While the site was previously developed, with the existing single family home on the site being converted into additional office space for Stafford Associates a significant portion of the site has been maintained or restored with natural landscaping.  For the office building itself, which was constructed on a previously undeveloped part of the site, the location and size of the building and parking lot were decided on with the intent to minimize disturbance and maintain the rural character of the site and carefully designed site lighting will preserve a dark sky.  The building is located between a commercial district and residential neighborhood along Route 25A in Setauket NY. It is located within ¼ mile of 2 bus lines that connect with the Long Island Railroad system. A bicycle rack and preferred parking for Low Emitting Vehicles will also encourage alternative transportation for both visitors and employees.

Careful consideration was given to all materials in the project. All concrete and concrete block is local, and the structural steel has high recycled content. Carpet, paints, adhesives, toilet partitions, among other materials were all chosen because of their environmentally-friendly attributes.

Aerial of site

Atrium stair with skylight above