By Peter Szotkowski, Director of Business Development
Vogel Bros. Building Co.’s mission is to continually improve our services in order to enhance the lives of the people in the communities we serve. This mantra was ever present this past year as we planned and built our new 13,400 square foot Madison office building. Not only was it important to make sure this building enhanced the employee’s experience, but we wanted to make sure sustainable products and practices were incorporated to reduce the carbon footprint this project would produce. Integrating our core beliefs and values as well as the company’s mission and vision into our new facility has been extremely rewarding. We believe that our actions make a difference, and incorporating green building elements in this new build was one way we could make a positive impact for future generations.
Using the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) checklist, we held a two day integrative planning charrette. The team selected 38 building and site systems to evaluate and incorporate sustainable materials, equipment and systems initiatives. While most of the decisions are inconspicuous, there are two initiatives that contribute directly to creating a healthy and fun workplace.
Quality Views. From the beginning, a major design requirement was to maintain a connection to the outdoors. Through planning of the building orientation, window size and placement, scale of obstructions and location of interior walls allowed us to create spaces that provide a direct north or east view to our beautifully wooded site for every employee. This direct visual connection to local flora and fauna is proven to improve our mood and promote our good health.
Enhanced Indoor Air Quality. Improved indoor air quality promotes the comfort of employees, supports their well-being and improves productivity, but adds costs to the project budget and operating expenses. To compensate for the increased energy needed for the extra ventilation, the team incorporated an energy recovery unit. This investment was significant and included additional HVAC VAV units to maximizing each individual’s comfort; outside air ventilation above current building code and designed to meet future building codes and ASHRAE standards; and an energy recovery unit integrated into the rooftop unit package that uses exhaust air heat to condition supply outside air to enhance our energy efficiency.
To build green in 2017, we leveraged the USGBC’s 17 years of design and construction LEED knowledge to make our new facility a healthy and inspiring environment. If you want to hear more about the other 36 sustainable initiatives, I’d love to chat. Our team is committed to creating environments that improve our communities.