In the midst of last week's wave of heat and humidity, all 58,000 square feet of space inside the City of Minneapolis' new
Hiawatha Public Works Facility
were comfortably chilled--but not with conventional air conditioning. Instead it was thanks to a geothermal system that brings the Earth's coolness (or warmth, in winter) up from underground.
That's only one of the features making the $9.5 million facility the city's greenest yet--and likely the fifth building in Minnesota to achieve LEED platinum status for environmental sustainability. (With LEED gold status already in hand, the city has an application for platinum status pending for the facility.)
The Hiawatha site in south Minneapolis has been home to the city's Public Works Department for more than a century. The 18 buildings once scattered across almost 10 acres are now consolidated into a single facility that houses department offices and the city's construction-vehicle maintenance shop. Indeed, the new building incorporates a brick structure that originally served as an infirmary for horses that pulled fire trucks and construction equipment, according to Senior Project Manager Paul Miller.
Miller takes most pride in the fact that even the 17 buildings that the city demolished got re-used, to the extent that the project actually gained LEED points during construction. Most projects lose points as waste material is hauled off, but "virtually 100 percent of what was there never left the site," he says. "That's the coolest thing."
The re-use wasn't limited to crushed gravel made from demolished structures. Miller says Knutson Construction
and RSP Architects
kept finding new uses for old building materials from the site--or even from off-site. The facilty's perimeter fencing served, in its past life, as the the steel-grid decking on the Lowry Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River, which is now being rebuilt.
Source: Paul Miller, City of Minneapolis
Writer: Chris Steller