Maintenance and Green Buildings
January 25, 2010 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is maintenance and green buildings.
The impact of the green building movement has reached unprecedented levels. News about schools, commercial offices and health care facilities vying for green building certification is becoming more commonplace.
Lately, professional sports arenas and stadiums have joined the movement. It's becoming more common for new construction projects to incorporate green elements into an arena’s plans. But what about existing buildings? The answer to that question begins with Philips Arena in Atlanta.
Arenas, especially those that host multiple sports teams, pose a host of maintenance and engineering challenges related to lighting, indoor air quality, and HVAC systems that no other type of facility can match. So when Philips Arena decided to pursue certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the committee spearheading the effort understood it would not be easy, especially on a strict budget.
"The first thing we did was sit down and look at the manual and determine what credits and what points we could go after," says Barry Henson, the arena’s vice president of building operations. "We were also challenged with doing this and not having any capital outlay and not breaking the bank, so to speak. Everything had to have payback."
Take water efficiency as an example. Atlanta is the largest U.S. city serviced by the smallest aquifer per capita, Henson says, so initiatives to conserve water are critical. The arena installed urinals that use one-half gallon per flush during original construction in the late 1990s, and it has added one-half-gallon-per-minute aerators to faucets. All public restrooms also feature automatic faucets.
To meet LEED's Minimum Indoor Plumbing Fixture & Fitting Efficiency prerequisite in the water-efficiency category, the arena has implemented a strict preventive maintenance program to monitor the performance of its plumbing fixtures.
Finally, the arena's landscape partner has incorporated more indigenous plants to reduce the frequency of irrigation requirements from daily to weekly, earning the arena the Water Efficient Landscaping credit.