The Linden Oaks Community Emergency Services Station at Fort Bragg is the first Army military construction project to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification by the United States Green Building Council.
The USGBC awarded the prestigious status on March 6, 2012. Recently, the Federal Energy Management Program chose the Linden Oaks CESS as one of the top projects for the year.
Why are environmentally sound, energy efficient facilities important? The Department of Defense occupies more than 300,000 structures worth $600 billion and spends close to $4 billion every year on energy consumption. In fiscal year 2012, the energy cost for Fort Bragg was $46 million, and future costs may rise as troops return from deployments and as real property inventory increases.
Efficient facilities can be accomplished with an integrated building design concept.
Unlike traditional designs that focus on the performance of individual building components, integrated design focuses holistically on an entire structure. Integrated building design can potentially achieve a 25 percent decrease in operational expenditures and building occupants can experience improved comfort, productivity and health.
Reduced energy and water use conserve natural resources, and pollution can be prevented. All of these benefits contribute to mission capability.
The Linden Oaks CESS demonstrates the efficiency of integrated building design for Army facilities. Completed in March 2011, the project is a combined emergency services facility in a residential community in the northern training area, ten miles north of the main cantonment of Fort Bragg. At 8,295 square feet, the CESS supports a population of 5,500 Soldiers and Family members with fire, emergency services and military police operations.
The structure was conducive to the integrated building design concept for three reasons.
“The facility allows us to look at sustainable concepts across several occupancy and use types in a single project,” said Rob Harris, chief of engineering with the Fort Bragg Directorate of Public Works. The structure includes dormitory rooms, office space, a kitchen, a fitness center, a training room and a vehicle maintenance bay.
Second, the facility serves as a viable comparison to a 2004 fire station designed to USACE standards in the cantonment.
To achieve platinum status, the Linden Oaks CESS collected 56 LEED points in the areas of sustainable siting, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design. The building project was funded in fiscal year 2008, prior to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. The act included an amendment which prohibits DoD funding in pursuit of LEED gold and platinum certification for facilities unless such achievement poses “no additional costs.”
Sustainable siting is one feature of the Linden Oaks CESS facility. Builders limited construction site disturbance and maintained over 70 percent of the site as vegetated open space. The landscaping features drought tolerant, native plants that require minimal maintenance and negate the need for a permanent irrigation system. Vegetated retention cells that mimic the pre-development hydrology of the site effectively manage storm water.
Hardscapes contain light-colored concrete that reflects radiation from its surface to reduce the heat island effect. The structure is oriented north to south to optimize natural lighting yet reduce glare and heat gain.
The Linden Oaks CESS is water efficient as well. Low flow faucets and rain water harvesting technologies for toilet flushing and vehicle washing help reduce water consumption in the facility by 83 percent based on American Society of Heating,
The Linden Oaks CESS is designed to reduce energy costs by 34 percent when compared to ASHRAE standards. A cool roof, a ground source heat pump and solar technologies such as solar hot water optimize the facility’s energy performance. Passive solar design strategies such as light shelves and clerestory windows with high efficiency glaze provide day lighting to 94 percent of all regularly occupied spaces in the building.
Sustainable materials are major components of the facility, too. Twenty-nine percent of the construction materials were manufactured with recycled content, and 25 percent were extracted, harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the site. Eighty-two percent of wood materials were Forest Stewardship Council certified. During the construction of the project, the contractor diverted 90 percent or over 55 tons of construction waste for recycling.
The Linden Oaks CESS achieves indoor environmental quality standards in numerous ways. To increase fresh air in the facility, the building is designed with a ventilation system that exceeds ASHRAE standards by over 30 percent.
In addition, the project received innovation and design credits. An instructional program educates occupants and visitors about the sustainable features of the structure. For housekeeping and vehicle washing, personnel use environmentally preferred and cost effective cleansers that comply with Green Seal or Environmental Choice standards. The use of green housekeeping products is now standard practice at post fire stations. Occupants have also implemented a robust recycling program. Other fire stations on the installation shared these initiatives and as a result, all six fire stations on Fort Bragg have been certified as green agencies in the Green Boot Program.
The Environmental Security Technology Certification Program has monitored the performance of the building and compared the Linden Oaks CESS to the 2004 Longstreet Fire Station on post. The Linden Oaks CESS is indeed more energy and water efficient than its counterpart. For example, data gathered in the first months of observation indicates that the facility has achieved an energy savings of 293 million British thermal units – 20 percent more than expected. Furthermore, the Linden Oaks CESS has required less maintenance than the comparable structure.
Perhaps, the best testimonial to the structure’s performance comes from the people who work in the facility. “Many of the environmental features of the building make it an enjoyable and functional place to work and live,” said Stephen Fox, captain of Fire Station 6 at the Linden Oaks CESS. “Overall, we are happy with the facility, and I would recommended incorporating some or all of these systems in future facilities on Fort Bragg,” he said.