Hiawatha Facility certified as one of nation’s greenest buildings
The City of Minneapolis Hiawatha Public Works Facility has received the highest certification awarded by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The LEED Platinum certification means the building is officially one of the greenest in the nation.
A project earns points for meeting criteria on a LEED "scorecard." A projects score places it within one of four categories: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Platinum is the highest LEED level, and only seven buildings in Minnesota have reached LEED Platinum status. The $11 million Hiawatha facility, which houses several divisions of the Public Works Department, earned LEED points for such features as water-efficient landscaping, extremely efficient energy use, reusing materials, using daylight in many of the indoor spaces, using innovative design, and much more.
The facility was designed by RSP Architects and built by Knutson Construction Services. Sustainable materials not available from existing materials at the site are from local companies such as Vast, Wood from the Hood, and Shetka Stone.
The award-winning facility was constructed on a site that used to house a complex of 18 Public Works buildings, some dating back to the turn of the 20th century. The main building, which originally served as an infirmary for sick horses for the Fire Department and the City Engineer’s Office, was stripped down to its brick-and-mortar shell and renovated as office space.
Some money-saving and efficiency features of the facility include:
- More than 90 percent of the material from the demolition of previous buildings was recycled and used in construction of the new facility. This includes 100 percent of the demolition rubble (concrete, brick and asphalt).
- The new building’s footprint is 43 percent smaller than the total footprints of the previous buildings.
- Around 90 percent of the space inside the facility is lit by daylight, reducing the amount of electricity needed during the day. The entire facility is 60 percent more efficient than a building built merely to code.
- Rain gardens, pervious pavers, bio-swales (low-lying areas to slow runoff and let water soak into the ground) and an underground water infiltration basin keep rainwater on the property. As a result, the landscape requires no watering, and virtually no stormwater runs off into the storm sewers. The site has prairie-type landscaping and trees that tolerate salt, such as birch and dogwood.
- The building’s heating and cooling uses geothermal energy, in-floor heating and cooling for shops, and strategies to recover and use heating and cooling that would otherwise be lost. The geothermal system is energy-efficient and will pay for itself in four years.
- The fence surrounding the building and public art was made from steel deck sections from the old Lowry Avenue Bridge. Hennepin County donated the deck for the project.
Established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute, LEED is the nation’s pre-eminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The costs associated with the energy-saving features will pay for themselves in four to six years, and they did not cost more than simply building to code. Energy modeling project the energy costs to be 60 percent lower than a facility simply built to code.
Published Mar. 25, 2011