[Skip to Content]

Nappi Wellness Institute receives national designation for being green

Upstate’s Nappi Wellness Institute has received the second-highest national designation for green buildings from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

The Institute earned a Gold certification last month by adhering to prerequisites and credits during design and construction that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health and indoor environmental quality. Projects go through a verification and review process and are awarded points that correspond to a level of LEED certification.

Nappi earned 64 points to earn the Gold designation, the second-highest certification offered by LEED.

The Institute, which opened June 2, is a five-story, 209,615-square-foot building that is home to many of Upstate’s ambulatory services.

“We are pleased that we achieved the Gold certification because it demonstrates the commitment of SUNY as well as the University to sustainability and constructing green buildings,” said Douglas Joseph, interim assistant vice president for facilities.

LEED provides a framework for healthy, efficient, and cost-saving green buildings and LEED-certified buildings are critical to addressing climate change and supporting more equitable communities, officials say.

LEED looks at the big picture, factoring in all critical elements that work together to create the best building possible. The goal of LEED is to create better buildings that reduce contribution to global climate change, enhance individual human health, protect and restore water resources, protect and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services, promote sustainable and regenerative material cycles and enhance community quality of life.

The building has more than 26 features that helped earn the certification, from air quality control to sourcing local construction materials to installing bicycle storage and showers for staff. The building scored points for using low-emitting materials including sealants, paints, flooring materials and composites, using green and recycled materials, LED lighting with automated controls, and indoor air quality management. The facility is a smoke-free building that also features low water consumption plumbing fixtures and green cleaning practices.

One of the sustainable practices noticeable to patients at Nappi is daylight harvesting, which according to Tim O’Hara, Upstate's director of physical plant, automatically adjusts the indoor lighting based on exterior light coming into the building. All of Nappi’s waiting room areas were built along exterior walls, where they are bathed in natural light. Automated shades also help to reduce the building’s heating and cooling loads.

“We’re not using extra energy by having the lights super bright all the time, and using that exterior light to our benefit,” he said. “With all the public spaces on the exterior, it really gives that natural light aspect to the building, which I think for patients it makes it a lot more pleasant and enjoyable than being boxed in when you’re waiting.”

Joseph and O’Hara said Upstate plans to keep up the standards for the Gold certification going forward.

Caption: A reflection area in the Nappi Wellness Institute highlights the use of daylight harvesting, which automatically changes interior lighting to reflect the ambient light from outdoors.