River Street Architecture, LLC along with Fidelity Trust Company, announced on Friday that the building located at 714 Cherry Street, known as the Hamilton on Cherry, was awarded LEED Gold level of certification by the U.S. Green Building Council on April 13, making it the first and only LEED certified building in the City.
LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the USGBC’s rating system for green building.
The three-story building, originally the Burk Hotel and later Hamilton Hotel, built in the early part of the 20th century, had been vacant for several years and was on the brink of demolition before the owner, architect, and contractor came together with the idea of adaptive reuse for the structure.
The LEED certification process was the pilot program of the green|spaces initiative, a two-part program offering incentives for LEED certification and a green building resource center on Main Street.
River Street Architecture was committed to the idea of sustainable design and building reuse and was in search of a new office in the heart of downtown. Fidelity Trust Company, long-time downtown property developer, saw the opportunity to further their mission of improving the downtown core and hired Gentech Construction to complete the project.
All parties worked closely in a design build relationship to identify efficiencies and sustainable strategies. Perhaps most importantly, green|spaces, with the commitment to change the way that Chattanoogans build, provided leadership throughout the process and facilitated the additional administration associated with the LEED process.
The term “LEED” has become commonplace in recent months. The program rates buildings on a point system which considers site design, water and energy efficiency, material use, and indoor environmental quality.
The program encourages a holistic view of building design and relies heavily on collaboration between building owners, architects, and contractors as well as tradesmen and other engineers.
Rick Fedrizzi, president, USGBC, said, “The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most-important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health.”
The building design team performed an energy model that indicated almost 30% less energy use than the existing building, and which is actually consuming less than half the power of River Street’s former location.
The overwhelming weight of the LEED rating system for this project came as a result of the project team’s willingness to renovate an existing building and reuse materials. The original floors, brick walls, wainscoting, and even the kitchen sink were salvaged, cleaned, and given new life. Even the former hotel rooms are apparent in the new office environment.
Mr. Gentech embraced the notion of reuse by planing old framing lumber and refashioning in the new wood storefront system as well as the metal and wood railing on the second floor. The original stair remains, with new stair treads, the exposed wood rafter ceilings make up the finished ceiling in the office.
Jeff Cannon, director of green|spaces, seconded the weight of building reuse, “There’s no question that the greenest aspect of this project was to save the building that otherwise would have been demolished.”
Some of the other green design strategies that reduce environmental impact:
· Use of high efficiency water fixtures that resulted in approximately 40% less water than a standard building
· Installation of a green roof that improves stormwater quality and quantity as well as energy efficiency and urban heat island effect.
· Individual occupant controls for lighting and ventilation
· Rapidly renewable materials used in parts of the flooring and cabinetry. The conference room floor is cork and the cabinetry is made from wood panels made from pressed sunflower seeds and sugar cane.
· Investment in green power for a total of 30% of the company’s power consumption.
· Use of translucent wall interior walls to allow daylight penetration into interior hallways.
· Installation of exterior screen for climbing vegetation and sun shading to reduce summer cooling loads.
· Railings made from industrial waste.
The coordination of the entire design team was crucial to the success of the project. Matt McGauley, vice president of Fidelity Trust Company, said, “Responsible development, especially adhering to LEED standards, takes extraordinary commitment from the entire development team: owner, tenant, architect, contractor and countless subcontractors and suppliers. We were extremely fortunate and grateful to work with such a dedicated team on this project, without which we would not have accomplished this tremendous honor.”