COLCHESTER Green Mountain Power's new service center in Westminster will incorporate extensive environmental design techniques and materials intended to qualify it for LEED certification standards.
Designing and constructing buildings so that they are highly energy efficient as well as being comfortable and healthy for employees makes good business sense, while it provides a much improved workspace for our employees, said Mary Powell, Green Mountain Powers senior vice president and chief operating officer. We believe that it is important to invest in environmentally strong practices that reinforce our commitment to the environment.
Green Mountain Power is renovating an older building in Westminster to replace its existing Bellows Falls service center. Construction on the building began Sept. 25 and is expected to be finished in early 2008.
Utility crews and equipment will move to the building, which will provide them with much-needed space to operate more efficiently, including space to store required materials that were previously located away from the service center.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System(tm) is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. In Vermont, only seven buildings are currently LEED certified.
Green Mountain Power will incorporate a variety of techniques to meet the standard, including diverting at least 50 percent of the demolition waste from landfill through reuse and recycling, using energy efficient lighting controlled by timers and occupancy sensors, daylight available in 75 percent of the building, automated low flow water fixtures, a new roof with improved insulation and high reflectance to reduce heat absorption, Energy Star windows and an efficient HVAC system that is controlled by occupants for their comfort. The air quality will be continually measured to ensure occupants always have fresh and healthy air. The materials used are environmentally friendly, from recycled tire flooring to Energy Star appliances. In addition, the Company will reduce the area requiring lawn mowing, naturalizing some areas and planting wildflower meadows in other areas, such as in front of the building. The landscaping will be native plants and will require no irrigation.
We hope to achieve the LEED certification because the third party verification helps ensure that we follow exacting standards to bring to the community a building that reflects Vermont values, said Ms. Powell.