City breaks ground on its first building project to meet LEED gold standards

The City of Minneapolis has begun construction on its Hiawatha Public Works Facility, which will meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold standards. The completed facility will save money, streamline operations and have a reduced impact on the environment. LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs in areas including energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

The new facility, which is located at East 26th Street and Hiawatha Avenue, will be built by re-using many materials from inefficient, aging buildings already on the site that are being demolished and use energy-efficient features that earn points for meeting criteria on a LEED "scorecard." This project is designed to reach the gold category, and the City plans to obtain the certification at that level.

As structures are demolished on the site, workers are preserving and sorting the materials for reuse. Conserving and reusing resources onsite saves fuel resources and reduces pollution. Furthermore, these materials are free because they’re already part of the facility.

Examples of how some materials will be reused at the new facility include tunnels previously used for steam heat under this site that will be reused for stormwater infiltration, along with crushed concrete from demolished buildings; reuse of bricks from old buildings on site; and reuse of some carefully cut concrete for use as slabs for stair bases. Also, decking from the old Lowry Bridge will be used as fencing at the new facility, and existing steel, pipes, and wood timbers will all be reused.

Other sustainable features include geothermal heating and cooling of the buildings using 75 wells 250 feet deep, and better stormwater management by using ‘gravel pave system’ for the parking lot.

This site has been a Public Works facility since the 1920s and once housed a fire station when horses pulled fire wagons. The completed facility will consist of two buildings and will consolidate Bridge Maintenance, Paving Construction, Surface Water and Sewer Maintenance, Street Maintenance and Central Stores. Public Works construction and maintenance functions will be consolidated into a single facility. When the project is complete, almost 200 people will be based out of this site.

Follow the construction of the Hiawatha Public Works Facility via live web cam.

Published Jun. 4, 2009