September 29, 2011

Gateway West Sustainable I, home of ESI (Environmental Systems, Inc.) in Brookfield, Wisconsin, was recently honored for the facility's commitment to sustainability at the SE2 Conference held in Madison, Wisconsin. Gateway West Sustainable I received a Special Citation for the building's superior elements and outstanding design; new honor for this already LEED Platinum and ENERGY STAR Certified Building.

The SE2 Award program recognizes leadership in energy efficient and sustainable design, construction and operation of Wisconsin commercial and other non-residential buildings and related systems. The goal of the program is to encourage greater collaboration among owners, designers, builders and operators by highlighting the value of projects that enhance the built environment. Awards are presented at their annual SE2 Conference in the fall.

The competition is sponsored by Focus on Energy, AIA Wisconsin, Energy Center of Wisconsin, ASHRAE Wisconsin, IES-Milwaukee/Madison, IFMA-Wisconsin, and WGBA. Projects completed in Wisconsin within the last five years are eligible.

ESI, Hunzinger Construction, Sustainable Building Solutions and Stephen Perry Smith Architects worked in collaboration, following the LEED protocol, when undertaking the design and construction of the new facility. This process included extensive life-cycle cost evaluation during the design phase. A high-performance building envelope, high-efficiency mechanical system, lighting control system, and a fully-integrated building monitoring and automation system contributed to the building’s high-efficiency energy performance. From an energy performance standpoint, the facility is 44 percent more efficient than current building codes require.

“Through real-time tracking of cost savings and measurement of key performance metrics, this building demonstrates every day that sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive when using efficient, intelligent design while remaining focused on business value,” Stephen Perry Smith Architects Matt Mano says.

Sustainability features include incorporating salvaged and recycled construction materials, maximizing natural light usage via windows and light tubes, and minimizing water usage via high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and drought-tolerant native landscaping.

“LEED buildings are high design,” says James Hunzinger, executive vice president/LEED AP at Hunzinger Construction. “The LEED process drives an integrated design and construction process that yields high-performance buildings that are economical to operate, more comfortable for its occupants, and in harmony with the environment that they occupy.”

“These attributes are both tangible and measureable,” he adds. “Collaboration during the design and construction of Gateway West Sustainable I produced a showcase for practical sustainability, which centers on efficient use of resources impacting bottom-line returns.”

At the beginning of the project, the team set criteria that all design decisions resulting in LEED credits, energy efficiency and sustainability had to achieve a simple payback of 10 years or less.

“The fact that we achieved a Platinum rating, while adhering to these criteria proves that efficiency and sustainability can be done in a way that provides bottom-line value to the business,” according to Paul Oswald, president of ESI. “We set out to make this building a working example for other businesses in the areas of practical design, efficient operation, and intelligently applied technology that produce tangible, bottom-line cost benefits for our business and a significantly lower environmental impact.”