Energy conservation and environmentally-friendly design are key elements of the $24.7 million expansion, which will add much-needed space to the existing 43,000 square-foot building constructed in 1973. The expansion, which will add almost 70,000 more square feet of space to the administration centre, will feature some of the most up-to-date LEED (Leadership in energy environmental design) features available.”It’s important for us to minimize the building’s effect on the environment and showcase this kind of technology,” said Darren Bedard, maintenance and facilities manager for the county.
The two-storey expansion, which wraps around three sides of the existing building, features a wide variety of green technologies. Exterior glazing on the large windows, combined with argon gas between the panes of glass, reduces ultraviolet light from entering and increases the insulation factor, as well as letting in plenty of sunlight. Working areas will have daylight sensors (so lights are dimmed or shut off if enough sunlight is coming in) and occupancy sensors (so light fixtures are shut down if no one is in the room) to reduce energy consumption. A vertical-loop, ground-source heat exchange system will be used to heat and cool the facility. It will be augmented by a condensing boiler system, with supplemental heating provided through a radiant floor system. Energy conservation is a priority, with consumption expected to be 40 to 50% less than regular industry standards, and will be achieved through a variety of measures.
“Two solar towers will ‘chase’ the sun and do snow dumps automatically,” Bedard said, adding that roof-top solar arrays will also generate electricity which will be sent back to the grid and provide revenue by offsetting energy costs. “These are visible reminders to our visitors of what an environmentally friendly building we have,” said Dawn Hipwell, director of procurement, fleet and property.
Even rainwater will be utilized. An irrigation system for lands around the administration centre will rely on harvested rainwater from the roof of the expansion. Inside the new portion of the building, low-flow fixtures will provide a 40% reduction in potable water use for hand washing toilets and an onsite bio-filter treatment system will ensure effluent leaving the building as clean as possible. A ventilation heat recovery system, controlled by CO2 sensors, will ensure that adequate ventilation is being provided at all times. Second floor offices will also have windows which are operable.
In line with the LEED designation, building materials will contain recycled content and be sourced from within 800 kilometres of the project and wood and composite wood products must come from sustainably harvested sources. Materials and products low in volatile organic compounds are selected and are urea-formaldehyde free where possible. Even unused construction materials leaving the site are under scrutiny. The expansion will be wheelchair- friendly and barrier free with a fully accessible main level entrance with nearby accessible parking and a new elevator lift for access into the council chambers and the public gallery.
The expansion was approved in 2008 following extensive investigations that began in 2005 into the “extremely” crowded conditions at the Midhurst facility, Hipwell said. “In the end, the option of adding onto the existing facility was the most cost-effective solution as the county owns the land and the existing building has been maintained and is in good condition,” she said.
The expansion is expected to be completed in the summer of 2011.
Source: The Barrie Examiner