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Rehabbed Building Gets “Green” Doors

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The Univ. of Washington School of Medicine’s medical research and development facility is housed in a former utility building that was gutted and remodeled with wood-veneer doors from VT Industries.

 

 
Approximately 225 five-ply, wood-veneer doors from VT Industries were used in the renovation of the utility building that houses the Univ. of Washington School of Medicine’s new medical research and development facility.

When the Univ. of Washington (U of W) School of Medicine, Seattle, needed an off-campus medical research and development facility, it chose to renovate the former Washington Natural Gas utility building, which was known by those in the area as “The Blue Flame Building.”

The U of W’s School of Medicine, which is the only medical school within a five-state region and one of the country’s leading research and training institutions, was designed to be environmentally sound. Although the utility building’s shell remained in place, the building was gutted and renovated from the ground up. Builders Hardware & Supply Co., Seattle, became involved with this project because the architect and contractor had worked with Holstein, IA-based VT Industries Inc.’s area sales representative on previous projects.

While Doug Gerbing at Builders Hardware worked on the hardware specifications, VT’s Norm Jost worked with the medical research and development facility on its wood-door specifications. Martha Tackett, contract consultant, Builders Hardware, and VT Industries also worked together with Mike Matter, project manager, Turner Construction, Seattle, on the project. Builders Hardware provided the hardware, architectural wood doors, hollow metal doors, and frames for the entire project. The specification was written around the university’s desire to have an environmentally friendly project.

The majority of the wood doors throughout the project were non-rated and 20-min. units made with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) SmartWood certified stave core lumber. SmartWood is a sustainable forestry program administered by the Rainforest Alliance, New York, an international conservation organization. The project also consisted of 60- and 90-min. singles and pairs, depending on their exact application within the building. “With this project, the university was very willing to be environmentally friendly with what they chose for the project,” Tackett reported. “It has never actually gone for LEED certification and, because of the building type, we probably would not have quite gotten there. Instead, it as all about using strong principles and doing what everyone thought was the right thing,” Matter said.

All of the approximately 225 doors used in the project are five-ply, wood-veneer construction. For the building’s common areas, the veneer is plain sliced American Cherry with a clear factory finish. The majority of doors are installed in laboratory areas and are plain sliced White Maple veneer with a custom factory finish.

“My role as the wood door consultant was to estimate, detail, and manage the wood door part of the project,” Tackett explained. The project involved several architectural changes, finish, and size approvals that needed to be met.