By Erin Prus, LCS
In the first installment of this LCS expansion series, we covered some of the project’s basic building choices and exterior challenges—basically the structural nuts-and-bolts of building. Here, we’re taking the conversation inside, shedding some light on the company’s interior moves and shifts.
In 2008, Dave Hegemann, President and CEO of LCS, reimagined a bigger, greener expansion for the Loveland-based company… and he didn’t cut any corners.
Working from the outside in, Hegemann, along with Matt Purintun, Purchasing & Facilities Manager at LCS, considered the best ecological and economic outcome for the remodel. Converting the original 5,400-square-foot space to nearly 20,000—by adding an adjoining building to the original structure—was a big undertaking. Especially with the challenge to preserve and match the existing building—while simultaneously being mindful of the woods, wildlife, and Little Miami watershed.
LCS Gone Green: The Inside Story
Many features of the redesign meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification standards. Insulation in the ceilings, an additional layer of insulation throughout the building, and upgraded features—such as ceiling tiles— are just a few of the choices that make LCS a sustainable space.
Hegemann and Purintun dug deep into the details of greening the structure. When considering interior finishings, the team leaned on architects from ARC Building Group to guide them as well…
Green Challenge: Make the building look better, longer.
The team reinforced the desire for the remodel to last—for every element in the building to be both sustainable and to sustain wear and tear. “We wanted to build a space that would maintain its aesthetic and appeal for the long-term…”
With this goal top-of-mind, the option of carpeting the facility presented a particular challenge—as traditional carpet is notoriously hard to maintain long-term (and keep its aesthetic appeal).
The architects at ARC were insistent on installing carpet tiles (those made from recycled carpet), and although hesitant at first, Hegemann and Purintun were ultimately won over by the ease and versatility of this option. “The beauty of tiles,” Purintun shares, “is how you swap out a small 2’x2’ section if you have a spill or stain. They’re easily replaceable.”
TIP! Carpet tile adhesive is different than the adhesive used with typical roll-carpet. Each tile’s bottom is sealed to hold water or chemicals—limiting damage to the floor. Simply swap out the damaged tile for a new one, and the surface is like new.
Green Challenge: Should we move the electricity?
Expanding the building and adding the Sentry Data Center (SDC) was a big endeavor—one that brought questions of energy conservation and efficiency to the fore. Ultimately, after consulting with an energy analyst, Hegemann made some fundamental decisions:
#1 The facility’s electricity was reconfigured.
#2 Upgrade to a much-larger transformer.
#3 Run all energy-seeking equipment and devices at the highest voltage possible.
#4 All lighting is run at 277 Volts, so no transforming is necessary (which would be less efficient).
#5 To promote the greatest efficiency, none of the building’s lighting, or the mechanicals in the SDC, is transformed.
These determinations established the “energy policy” for the rest of the build. In order to get the results you want and/or need, major systems modifications or changes may be necessary. Be willing to investigate new strategies and entertain the prospect of reconfiguring your current system. From big to small, change can be very good.
Bringing it back inside, when thinking about sustainability and longevity, it’s important to also consider not just the “look” of the building—but the “feel,” too. When shopping interior furnishings and customizing your office layout, ask yourself: What kind of environment/culture do I want to evoke?
Keeping employees comfortable helps to sustain and grow the business—and good design helps to energize the workspace. For the LCS remodel, Hegemann and Purintun decided on OstermanCron furniture because of their thorough, thoughtful approach, and their extensive experience. Here, Hegemann shares about the process of choosing OstermanCron.
Basic Tips for Building Green
When expanding, adding, or greening, keep these tips in mind to help achieve the best-possible outcome:
Seek Expert Advice—Get the educated perspective of experts in the field. Consider bringing an energy analyst to your property to give you an evaluation. Consult with architects and design teams. It may be worthwhile to get a second opinion along the way. Don’t rush! Take your time and get the opinions of the pros to ensure that your final decisions are the best fit for your project.
Take a Team Approach—Consider which of your contacts (professional or personal) could be an asset during this process. Who do you trust to get into the trenches with you? A small, informed team can help you sort through the details when the process feels overwhelming.
TIP! Remember to be selective with your team. You may only need one or two people to round out your process. Don’t go too big—better not to have too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak.
Be Bold (when necessary)—If, for example, the best outcome for your project is to move the building’s electricity, focus on doing it right the first time (after all, you won’t be expanding every year). If there’s a big decision to be made, weigh it with the long-term forecast in mind.
Pay First—Don’t be afraid to spend money up front for a more-sustainable/-long-term choice. Remember that you’ll be set up to save money over time if you invest on the front end.
The aim of this series was to demonstrate that green building can be as cost-effective a choice as it is sustainable. If your business aims to incorporate green practices in its future construction, be mindful that the effort will pay off!