Washington Expands Green Building Program
(08/11/2007)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Monroe Correctional Complex received LEED Silver certification for two new complex facilities, bringing to four the number of USGBC-certified buildings operated by the Washington State Department of Corrections.

The USGBC awarded LEED Silver certification to the 140,000-square-foot Intensive Management Unit, which scored 37 points on the LEED design scale, and the 6,600-square-foot warehouse/maintenance annex to the Special Offenders Unit, which scored 35 points.

“Building green helps push the industry in the right direction,” says Sherman Smith, LEED AP, Monroe's environmental specialist. “But in the corrections industry, you really have to offset the costs because otherwise it's hard to justify.”

Monroe Correctional Complex is comprised of four separate prison units ranging from maximum- to minimum-security levels. With 75 buildings covering 297 acres, the complex houses 2,500 male inmates.

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The prison's existing reformatory unit was built in 1908. Officials wanted to create more sustainable buildings that would yield lower maintenance and operational costs.

“Those old facilities are not cheap to run,” says Paddy Hescock, Monroe's consolidated plant manager.

The $24 million, 200-bed Intensive Management Unit, which forms part of Monroe's segregation facility, was designed by Washington-based Integrus Architecture to use 27 percent less energy than comparable noncertified buildings.

Designed by Washington architectural firm Ambia Inc., the $2 million SOU maintenance building uses 20 percent less energy than comparable facilities and offers natural lighting for more than 75 percent of occupied space.

The SOU, which features an alternative-fuel filling station for fleet vehicles, will also derive all of its base-load energy consumption from sustainable energy sources for at least two years.

“We're a high-end user, so the energy reductions are significant,” Hescock says.

Even though MCC had water rights in trust for an adjacent water field, the IMU features a storm-water management system to serve its gray water needs. The SOU was designed to use 54 percent less water than a comparable facility. Landscaping around both facilities incorporates native vegetation that does not require irrigation.

“Rainwater harvesting helps sustain the water-shelf for everyone,” Hescock says.

The rainwater harvesting system reduces potable water consumption by approximately 58 percent. However, the measure was one of the most challenging components of the project because the permitting process and installation of a self-contained system to avoid cross-contamination makes it difficult and costly to implement.

Hescock says implementing energy- and resource-efficient design components is worth the extra work.

“These kinds of measures benefit us, the utilities and the local communities,” Hescock says. “Environmental sustainability was the right thing to do and makes fiscal sense in the long-run.”

To enhance air quality, nontoxic, low-VOC materials, paints and adhesives were used where practical in both structures, and only Green Seal-certified chemicals are used for cleaning and maintenance operations. In addition, the IMU segregation building also incorporates a halon- and hydrochlorofluorocarbon-free HVAC/air-quality-management system that monitors carbon dioxide and humidity levels.

Approximately 97 percent of construction waste generated by the IMU project was diverted for repurposing, and more than 99 percent of construction waste and debris from the SOU building was recycled. Finally, more than 60 percent of construction materials were harvested or manufactured locally.

Although there are several LEED-certified correctional projects in Washington, Hescock and Smith say there are challenges that must be overcome.

“Most architects and contractors aren't up to speed on LEED and there's a long paper trail from day one to document a project,” Smith says. “Trying to get it done afterward is a no go.”

Correctional facilities don't lend themselves to many aspects of green building design. Most people don't understand how environmental sustainability can be or readily combined with the primary imperatives of safety and security, Smith says.

“With correctional facilities you really need someone who can be creative and think outside the box,” Smith says. “If you plan carefully with architects and contractors, you can make it work and get the right balance between sustainability and safety and security.”

The Washington Department of Corrections committed to achieving LEED accreditation for all new construction projects larger than 5,000 square feet following the Governor's 2002 executive order directing state agencies to pursue sustainable building practices.

“We had an environmental services group that convinced the powers that be to move ahead of the curve before the order became law,” Smith says.

In 2005, Monroe's Captain Jimmy Evans Performance Center — a 9,600-square-foot DOC regional training center — became the first correctional facility in the United States to receive LEED Gold recognition, according the DOC.

As reported in the March/April 2007 issue of Correctional News , a $6.6 million warehouse facility at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla was also awarded LEED Silver certification.

The 39,000-square-foot facility, which handles all food and supply shipments for the prison, features a 2,500-square-foot freezer and a 2,200-square-foot cooler. The warehouse was designed with several energy and water conservation systems, including geothermal heat pumps, skylights, dual-flush toilets and waterless urinals. Rainwater run-off is collected for irrigation and rejected heat from coolers is redirected for use in the facility.

Integrus Architecture http://www.integrus.net/home.html

Ambia Inc. http://www.ambia-inc.com/

Washington State Department of Corrections http://www.doc.wa.gov/

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