NRG Building Receives Green Building Accolade

NRG Systems’ recently completed 46,000 square foot manufacturing facility and office building in Hinesburg has received LEED gold level certification, making it the first gold and highest LEED-certified building in Vermont and one of only four manufacturing facilities in the world to receive this designation.

LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nationally accepted standard and rating system for high performance, sustainable (green) buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. The $8 million building, located in Hinesburg, is powered primarily by renewable energy and features the latest in energy efficiency technology and green building design. “It was our goal to build the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly building possible. When we started this process, we wanted to explore just how ‘green’ we could go with this kind of building,” said Jan Blittersdorf, president and CEO of NRG Systems, Inc., a global manufacturer of wind measuring systems. “The result is a building that achieves new standards for manufacturing facilities.” Two-thirds of the NRG building’s electricity is supplied by a 67-kW solar photovoltaic installation, which will avoid the emission of up to 105,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. A 10-kW wind turbine complements the $450,000 solar installation, the largest installation in Vermont. The building also uses another renewable resource-wood pellets made from lumber milling waste-for its heating needs. Conventional buildings use more than three times the energy as the NRG building. Water-saving devices, such as dual-flushing toilets and faucet aerators, save more than 100,000 gallons of water per year. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, green building and design is a booming trend. In Vermont, two projects have been certified-ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain and Waterfront Housing-16 other Vermont projects are registered and seeking certification. There are more than 1,700 new construction projects in the U.S. seeking certification-only 43 have received gold level certification. There are four progressive levels of certification-certified, silver, gold and platinum. According to NRG Systems, the cost of building to green standards was $13.81 per square foot or 8.21 percent more. NRG expects these additional costs to be paid for in five years. The building features dozens of skylights and operable windows designed to take advantage of natural light, allow for natural ventilation and provide employees with views of the outdoors. Laptop computers and Energy Star-rated office equipment were selected to reduce electricity usage and heat gain. Earth- and human-friendly materials were used throughout the building, including low- or no-VOC stains, paints and adhesives, stained concrete flooring, certified wood, and recycled glass bathroom tiles. The building features a first floor commons area that includes a cafe, double kitchen and 3-story stone fireplace; the third floor features an endless swimming pool and fitness area for employees. In addition to the building’s green features, the new facility includes greatly expanded space to accommodate NRG’s administrative and sales offices, shipping, manufacturing, tower production and assembly areas, more than four times the area of its former facility. NRG plans to develop recreation paths around its facility and eventually throughout Hinesburg for community use. The design team included William Maclay Architects and Planners, Breadloaf Construction, Energy Balance, Salem Engineering, Krebs and Lansing Consulting Engineers, Engineering Ventures, Erickson Consulting, and Naomi Miller Lighting Design. NRG Systems received energy efficiency services and qualified for rebates from Efficiency Vermont.
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