23
May
08

Christman Building Goes LEED Double Platinum

Pewabic Tiles

What does it take to score LEED double platinum? This certification, signifying “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and never before has the double-platinum designation been applied to a building. An uncredited article from the Building Design and Construction website answers the question of why. It says:

The building is an example of sustainable “green” historic building practices, considered by many to be the highest form of sustainable design and construction due to its reuse of an existing structure. The many green features of the project include water use reduction, optimized energy performance, construction waste management, a focus on daylighting and a healthy indoor environment.

The LEED rating system, of course, measures the greenness or energy-efficiency of a building, and platinum is as good as it gets, except of course for double-platinum, which the Christman Building earned in two different categories: Core and Shell; and Commercial Interiors, which means it’s a Class A office building. In other words, both the building itself, and its office space, are awardees. Some feel that new ground is being broken in the area of best practices, that this one will be iconic in a newly-evolving sense of the word; a lasting inspiration. If buildings had slogans, this one’s could be, “Best is not good enough.”

Built in 1928, the former Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Co., or Mutual Building, is at 208 N. Capitol Avenue in Lansing, Michigan. In addition to being the Christman Company’s national HQ, the building houses long-term tenants Kelley Cawthorne and the Michigan Municipal League. It is venerable enough to be listed by the National Register of Historic Places, a condition which brings its own set of challenges to the builder. The exterior limestone detailing is mentioned as an example of the successful preservation efforts. A sixth floor was added to provide conference rooms and a glass-walled foyer.

The integrity of the structure was maintained not only in basic but in purely aesthetic ways, such as the preservation of the original tile stairways. The photo above shows examples of this finely-crafted stoneware, from the nearly century-old Pewabic pottery.

The renovation cost $12 million and will save $40,000 a year in energy costs. The design plan was not finalized from the start, but was adjusted as the project proceeded, in order to gain the most LEED points. Another source, Jeremy W. Steele reports,

Planning the structure with the top LEED rating in mind started with initial design work, said Gavin Gardi, sustainable programs manager for Christman.

The Christman Company’s website credits its design partner, SmithGroup, with the following achievements: architectural design, historic preservation design, LEED certification services, lighting and interior design, and of course all of the engineering, whether mechanical, electrical, or structural.

A May 20 ceremony formally sealed the occasion.

SOURCE: ” Michigan building awarded LEED double-platinum ” 05/20/08
photo courtesy of haycarrieanne , used under this Creative Commons license

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