USACE continues construction on energy-efficient headquarters
July 20, 2011
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WIESBADEN, Germany, July 20, 2011 -- From its earliest use as Fliegerhorst (air base) Wiesbaden, a German military kaserne, to the future headquarters for U.S. Army Europe, Wiesbaden Army Airfield has operated as an airfield for nearly a century.
Now, the pre-World War II airfield is transforming into a base that more closely resembles an eco-friendly college campus with pedestrian walkways, bike racks, parking garages, and green spaces designed to meet the modern needs and concerns of the Army.
At the center of this transformation is the construction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District managed, energy-efficient U.S. Army Europe, or USAREUR, Mission Command Center, or MCC, formally known as the Command and Battle Center.
From the start of the project, the design and construction have incorporated all requirements for a Silver certification under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, putting the MCC building on track to be the Army’s first Silver-certified building in Germany.
Sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality are the environmental areas LEED uses to determine its levels of certification.
According to Rich Gifaldi, a district sustainability engineering manager, LEED provides a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
“The Army implemented LEED standards because they had goals to be more sustainable, to be more energy efficient, use less water and provide a better working environment for the people inside the buildings,” Gifaldi said. “LEED is an efficient tool to be able to measure how well those goals are met.”
Designing and constructing a building from the ground up with “green technology” is exciting, Gifaldi said. It means the project can implement some “unique” ways to protect the environment.
One unique approach to managing construction sediment is the silt fencing which has been placed around the entire construction site Gifaldi said.
“LEED requires the implementation of measures to prevent sediment from reaching natural water sources during construction but by surrounding the entire construction site with silt fencing, they are taking the requirement to the extreme,” he said.
The silt fencing is a temporary barrier designed to intercept and detain dirt and particles of sediment from the construction site. Rain and wash water runoff are also filtered as they pass through the silt fencing. Gifaldi said by surrounding the site with silt fences the amount of sediment that passes into the storm drains and on to a nearby creek is considerably reduced.
Protecting the environment is only part of the LEED Silver certification, providing a healthier working environment in the building is another part of the standards.
Dust is always generated during construction, in an effort to reduce that dust from passing into the ventilation system openings in the duct work are sealed off when the system is not in use. This reduces the construction dust in the building’s indoor environment and contributes to a healthier working environment for future occupants, which Gifaldi said contributes to improved employee health and comfort.
When the MCC is complete, Gifaldi estimates its total energy saving will be more than $225,000 per year over a conventional U.S. constructed building.
“A building of this size consumes a huge amount of energy,” Gifaldi said. “Through an energy efficient design, the MCC is expected to use 27 percent less energy overall, which will significantly reduce the Army’s footprint and that’s what building green is about.”
The two-year, design-build project, seeks to provide a three-story consolidated operation center with a flexible modular office design called Pods which allows the user to tailor each space according to a specific mission.
Jamie McCormick, a district project engineer, said the Pod concept or open floor plan is beneficial for the command and control operations of the user, as their needs change so can the spaces.
“There are limitless configurations with this concept, so the functionality of each space can be whatever is needed,” McCormick said. “In general, the floors are raised 54 centimeters, which allows for flexibility in communication and electrical configuration.”
After more than 440,000 work hours and 1,600 workers, the MCC is approximately 67 percent complete, according to George Van Cook, district resident engineer.
He said part of the MCC construction contract is a “split-level” designed parking garage with alternating levels, that are staggered by a half story height. By staggering the heights, the contractor reduces the garage’s area footprint while providing additional parking spaces and producing a more efficient traffic flow.
Additionally, more than 85 bicycle racks will be available within 200 yards of the main entrance for employees wishing to protect the environment, improve their health, and save money by bicycling to work and between facilities on the airfield, Van Cook said.
David Fulton, director Wiesbaden Mission Support Element and deputy for the U.S. Army Europe Relocation Task Force said the Wiesbaden Army Airfield has already been recognized by the Army Chief of Staff as the 2011 Army’s best military community and every project on WAAF is designed to make it an even better place to live, work and play for Soldiers, Civilians and their Families.
“In today’s environment, we have the opportunity and the obligation to make sound decisions regarding our financial, natural and energy resources,” said Fulton. “We all benefit from the efficiencies designed into the MCC and take pride in knowing the MCC serves as a visible example of the U.S. Army in Europe’s commitment to environmental stewardship.”