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Southern Maryland Autonomous Research and Technology (SMART) Building

Southern Maryland Autonomous Research and Technology (SMART) Building “Green” Self-Guided Tour

Overview of SMART


Welcome to SMART, the Southern Maryland Autonomous Research and Technology Building, a facility that was designed and built on the principle of minimizing its impact on the environment. One important goal of sustainable building is to provide people in institutions, organization, and the surrounding community with information explaining the benefits of the “green” movement and how the construction and daily use of buildings can be augmented to reduce our impact on the environment. As an institution dedicated to reducing our environmental impact, USMSM provides visitors this information to demonstrate how USMSM SMART is smart and sustainable. This tour will provide information on the planning, construction and materials used in SMART; the codes you see are used for LEED certification.


The Southern Maryland Autonomous Research and Technology (SMART) Building is approximately 84,316 square feet and houses general classrooms, engineering education labs, machine shops, maker spaces, meeting spaces, research labs including a high bay space, as well as administrative and faculty offices. The University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland (USMSM) campus operates as a consortium where faculty from seven partner institutions offer classes; this includes the University of Maryland College Park, who is the primary tenant of SMART’s education and research mission. The project has had close collaboration with the stakeholders and the surrounding community including the USMSM Board of Advisors, the adjacent University of Maryland UAS Test Site, the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, and other community members and interest groups. The site design features the first phase of a new campus loop road, new campus utilities, additional parking and stormwater management systems. The building is anticipated to be fully occupied by January 2022.


From the very beginning of the project, the team looked to create a design that was both sustainable and lent itself to the site. The overall building footprint and orientation were carefully considered to work around the existing site constraints. The form of the building traces around an existing wooded retention area with a wetland, and maintaining clearance from that informed the overall building layout. Along with the orientation, the amount of fenestration was analyzed to maximize daylighting opportunities but reduce glare and solar heat gain. Sun studies and daylighting analysis were completed and as a result, a series of exterior perforated metal screens were designed for the western and southern elevations that experienced the largest amount of potential heat gain. The addition of the exterior perforated metal screens reduced the amount of heat gain and helped inform and reduce cooling loads on the selected mechanical system.

Project Design Team:

  • Owner: University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland (USMSM)
  • Architect/Interior Designer: Cooper Carry, Inc.
  • LEED Consultant: Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC
  • Contractor: Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
  • Civil Engineer: Site Resources Inc.
  • Mechanical/Electrical Engineer & Energy Modeler: Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
  • Plumbing Engineer: WFT Engineering
  • Structural Engineer: Cagley & Associates
  • Lighting Designer: MCLA, Inc.
  • Acoustical Engineer/Audio-Visual Consultant: SeXsys, LLC



As you stand outside the entrance to SMART, please look around you at the site, the building (including the side shade panels and the roof), parking lot, plants, and the quad planted with trees.



  • Site Selection: The new building was constructed on the school’s previously existing parking lot to reduce impact on the surrounding greenfields. SSc1
  • Construction Activity Pollution Prevention: During construction, an Erosion & Sediment Plan required the contractors to prevent construction activities from eroding soil, spreading airborne dust or waterway sedimentation. Practices implemented were super silt fencing, diversion fencing and covering storm drains. SSp1
  • Protect & Restore Habitat: The site preserved as many existing trees as possible to protect the surrounding habitat.
  • Stormwater Design: Quantity Control / Quality Control:  Storm Water Management was designed with native and adaptive plants,and mitigates excessive runoff. WEc1
  • Maximize Open Space: The project provided over 26,000 sq. ft. of Open Space with vegetation--6% of total LEED Boundary--excluding the steep SWM ponds.
  • Light Pollution Reductions: The outdoor lighting controls will utilize photocells and time switches with line voltage manual override switches. Majority of exterior light fixtures meet BUG Rating requirements.
  • Daylight and Views: The meeting room has exterior screens for limiting solar heat gain. The Lobby curtainwall provides natural daylight and views to the interior spaces. Additionally, there are skylight and clerestory windows for natural light transmission. Majority of classrooms and offices have windows with exterior views. Perimeter spaces with windows are provided with daylight harvesting.
  • Water Efficient Landscaping: The landscaping is curated with native and adaptive plants, which require less water dependency and can survive in the southern Maryland region. Tree species include Red Maple, Seedless Sweetgum, Willow Oak, Scarlet Oak, Serviceberry, Sweetbay Magnolia, Black Tupelo, and London Planetree (a variety of Sycamore). WEc1
  • Heat Island Effect: Roof:  The building’s roof is specified with PVC roofing with Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of 103 to reduce heat island effect. The solar reflectance index (SRI) is a measure of the constructed surface's ability to reflect solar heat, as shown by a small temperature rise. It is defined so that a standard black surface (reflectance 0.05, emittance 0.90) is 0 and a standard white surface (reflectance 0.80, emittance 0.90) is 100. SSc7.2
  • Construction Waste Management: During construction, the contractors were able to divert >75% materials from landfill. MRc2
  • Recycled Content & Regional Materials:  Installed materials achieved >20% recycled content and >10% regionally extracted and manufactured within 500 miles. Some high-cost materials and their contributions: 
  • Cast-in-place concrete is made from regional sources, and roughly 50% of the cementitious material is pre-consumer recycled content.
  • Concrete reinforcing has 74.7% post-consumer and 15.7% pre-consumer.
  • CMU has 25% pre-consumer. 100% regional.
  • Brick has 75% pre-consumer.
  • Structural Steel has 21-90% post-consumer and 2-39% pre-consumer. 40% regional.
  • Sheathing has 3-14% pre-consumer. 14% regional.
  • Thermal Insulation has 6-40% pre-consumer. 38-58% regional.
  • Formed metal walls has 35% pre-consumer.
  • Fireproofing has 56% pre-consumer.
  • Aluminum curtain wall has 30% pre-consumer.
  • Metal framed Skylights has 50% post-consumer and 25% pre-consumer.
  • Metal casework has 18% post-consumer and 2% pre-consumer.
  • Non-structural framing 31.8% post-consumer and 5.5% pre-consumer.
  • Gypsum Board has 5% post-consumer and 14% pre-consumer. 14% regional from Baltimore, MD. MRc4-5


  • Alternative Transportation: Low-Emitting and Fuel-Efficient Vehicles – The parking lot has designated preferred parking spaces to accommodate 5% of total parking. This reduces dependency on petroleum vehicles and promotes the use of alternative fuel vehicles. SSc4.3
  • Alternative Transportation: Parking Capacity – The parking lot has designated parking spots for carpool vehicles to accommodate 5% of total parking. This reduces pollution and land development impacts of automobile use from multiple vehicles. SSc4.4




  • Design for Active Occupants: The building is designed with an open monumental staircase in the primary Lobby. The staircase is designed with ambient lighting. The staircase location is below a skylight and adjacent to a double-height curtainwall providing natural daylight and views to the outdoors. It is visually attractive and encourages the occupants to be more physically active rather than use the elevator. INc1.3
  • Water Use Reduction: The plumbing fixtures are selected based on low-flow sinks and low-flush toilets and urinals. The plumbing fixtures yielded 41.13% water savings compared to a baseline building. WEp1/c3
  • Storage & Collection of Recyclables:  USMSM’s facility’s recycle program collects and recycles paper, plastic, metal, cardboard and glass. There are various built-in collection points in the hallways, and there are collection bins in each classroom and office. MRp1



  • Fundamental/Enhanced Commissioning of Building Energy Systems: Early in Design, an independent Commissioning Agent was brought on to coordinate with the Owner, Architect and Mechanical Engineers to plan on the building’s system performance expectations. These systems were closely inspected by Commissioning Agent and completed a systems performance verification prior to occupancy. EAp1/c3
  • Optimized Energy Performance: The mechanical systems achieved 23.9% energy cost savings and complies with ASHRAE 90.1-2010. The following strategies were implemented to create an energy-efficient HVAC system (EAp2/c1) :
    • The air handling units are sized for 33.3% of total building load.
    • An energy recovery system is utilized to treat the ventilation air and meet/exceed ASHRAE 90.1 requirements.
    • The chilled water system chillers are each sized for 50% of total building load. Chilled water usage is metered and that data is monitored by the Building Automation System (BAS).
    • Heating hot water is generated by high efficiency condensing boilers, each sized for 50% of the design load.
    • A heat recovery chilled water system is included and  the heat from the heat recovery chilled water system is transferred to the heating system
    • Mechanical systems are controlled and monitored through a Building Automation System (BAS) which will interface with other buildings systems on the existing campus and will integrate with the lighting control system for remote monitoring and scheduling.
  • Fundamental/Enhanced Refrigerant Management: The cooling systems use refrigerants that on average do less to affect Global Warming Potential and Ozone Depletion. EAp3/c4
  • Measurement and Verification: A Measurement & Verification Corrective Plan was developed to provide a process for corrective action if the M&V energy savings are not being achieved during building energy consumption over time. EAc5
  • Controllability of Systems: Lighting: All regularly occupied spaces have multi-level lighting controls, which promotes productivity, comfort and well-being. Each public space has occupancy/vacancy sensing with manual overrides. Perimeter spaces with windows are provided with daylight harvesting and labs and classrooms are provided with zoned lighting and dimmers.     
  • Thermal Comfort: Design and Verification:  The HVAC systems and building envelope were designed to meet ASHRAE Standard 55-2004. University of Maryland, Facilities Management (USMSM’s managing partner) will conduct a thermal comfort survey within 6 to 18 months of occupancy, and provide any subsequent corrective action if deemed necessary. IEQc7.1/2
  • Innovation: Purchasing - Lamps (LED):  All on-site interior and exterior lighting are specified with LED with a CRI of 80 or greater. LED are energy efficient lamps and require less frequent replacement. Additionally, LED bulbs have zero mercury content. INc1.4


  • Low-Emitting Materials: All adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings are specified with low volatile organic compounds (VOC) to reduce organic chemicals in the surrounding air. IEQc4.1-4.2
  • Low-Emitting Materials: Flooring Systems: The flooring systems are specified with Floorscore and Carpet & Rug Institution Green Label Plus, which only certify products that do not use harmful materials and conduct IAQ testing on the materials. IEQc4.3
  • Low-Emitting Materials: Composite Wood and Agrifiber Products: The composite wood, agrifiber products or laminating adhesives are specified with no added urea-formaldehyde resins. IEQc4.4

Air Quality

  • Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control: The school property prohibits smoking or electronic devices campus-wide. IEQp2
  • Minimum Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Performance / Increase Ventilation: Mechanically ventilated spaces increased the breathing zone to all occupied spaces by at least 30% above minimum rates by ASHRAE 62.1-2007. IEQp1/c2
  • Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring: All densely occupied spaces have CO2 sensors to monitor high concentrations of CO2. IEQc1
  • Construction IAQ Management Plan: During Construction: During construction, an IAQ Management Plan was distributed to all contractors that including how to maintain a clean working environment and limit airborne dust or moisture exposure. IEQc3.1
  • Construction IAQ Management Plan: Before Occupancy: Before occupancy, Air Testing (IAQ testing) was conducted in various rooms to confirm indoor air quality was not affected by construction or renovation. The Air Testing protocols were consistent with the EPA Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Air Pollutants in Indoor Air. IEQc3.1
  • Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control: The project buildings provide permanent grates and roll out mats to collect any contaminates from the outdoors. These entryway systems will be maintained and cleaned regularly. The HVAC systems are regularly replaced with MERV 13 filters for all outside air handlers. IEQc5
  • Green Housekeeping Program – The building maintenance will implement a Green Housekeeping Program that prevents hazardous chemicals or contaminates that could impact building occupant’s or maintenance personnel’s health.  INc1.2



  • In future, the campus plans to provide photovoltaic panels (PV) to provide energy to the campus.
  • The campus will strive to limit additional light pollution to surrounding properties.
  • The campus additionally plans to develop native plant gardens to support pollinators and other bird and insect species.
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