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Maintenance, LEED and Design

green, LEED, design



I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is the maintenance role in sustainable design.

Size alone cannot measure the impact a seemingly modest renovation and addition have had on the facilities management department for the City of Minneapolis.

While the $7.6 million Third Precinct Police Headquarters Project encompassed only 45,000 square feet, those involved with planning and carrying out the project now realize the lasting effect it has had on the way the city designs, builds, and maintains facilities.

The city renovated the existing 16,000-square-foot facility, specifying new mechanical and electrical systems, as well as sustainable technologies. More importantly, the project in 2005 signaled a shift in the way the facilities department plans and executes projects designed to modernize and expand the city's building portfolio.

This project sparked the city to adopt the U.S. Green Building Council's green building rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), for renovations and new construction.

The project also marked a change in the role maintenance staff plays in renovation and construction projects. The staff had a key role in the design review, helping specify equipment and materials. Staff members also were involved in the commissioning process after the project was complete.

Involving maintenance early in the projects has created a sense of ownership within the facilities department. Whether the issue is providing input on mechanical and electrical systems or bringing to light operational challenges, such as the number of electrical outlets to install or the type of soap dispensers to specify, everyone in the facilities department brings expertise to the table.

The maintenance staff also kept the facility operating as smooth as possible during the project. A great deal of staging and coordination had to take place each day, but without the help of those responsible for maintaining the facilities, that coordination would have been more difficult for the project team to tackle.

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