Sun, Feb

Upgrades Turn Scottsdale, Ariz., Building Green

A building in the General Dynamics C4 Systems complex in Scottsdale has officially achieved "Green Building" status after efficiency improvements in its water and energy systems.

A building in the General Dynamics C4 Systems complex in Scottsdale has officially achieved "Green Building" status after efficiency improvements in its water and energy systems.

The building at 8220 E. Roosevelt St. on the south side of the General Dynamics complex has been certified by the United States Green Building Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design -- Existing Building program.

The 650,000-square-foot manufacturing and office building is the only existing building of any type in Arizona and one of only two existing industrial buildings in the entire U.S. to receive the certification, said Mark Wilhelm, vice chairman of the Arizona Chapter of the council.

To receive the certification, a building must meet the council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards for energy and water use, materials, indoor environmental quality and other environmental criteria. So far the program has focused mostly on promoting high efficiency in new construction, but the council is starting to pay more attention to retrofitting existing buildings, he said.

"The brand new standard (for existing buildings) just kicked off last fall," he said. "General Dynamics was one of the pilots." With the existing building market 80 times the size of the new construction market, there's plenty of room for increasing efficiency in the nation's stock of buildings, he said.

As a result of implementing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines, General Dynamics has reduced the Roosevelt building's water consumption by about 22 percent, or 21 million gallons a year, the company said.

Among the actions that brought that reduction were expanding recycling of water used in the building's cooling tower, installing low-flow restroom fixtures, including waterless urinals and more water-efficient landscaping, said Patrick Okamura, engineering construction manager.

"One simple thing we have done is we have stopped putting in winter grass, which we irrigated with potable city water," he said.

Also the company has reduced its energy consumption by about 20 megawatts since 1991 by installing more efficient equipment, expanding the building's energy management system and operating the air conditioning at optimum efficiency by raising the temperature in the evening after employees depart and lowering it in the morning before they come in to work.

Another environment-friendly measure has been to reduce the amount of construction debris created by interior remodeling projects, he said. The company has done that by remodeling existing rooms when they are needed for new purposes instead of completely demolishing them and starting over from scratch, Okamura said. That also allows the use of existing carpeting, air conditioning, lighting and other infrastructures, he said.

Okamura said the savings have exceeded the cost of implementing the program, but he did not release specific figures.

General Dynamics also hopes to achieve "Green Building" certification soon for its other Scottsdale building at 8201 E. McDowell Road, he said.

Only six other buildings, all new construction, have achieved the certification in Arizona including a city of Phoenix fire station, a National Parks Service maintenance center at the Grand Canyon and buildings at Yavapai and Pima colleges. Also Scottsdale is requiring all new public buildings in the city to meet the "clean" standards.

To see more of The Tribune, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.eastvalleytribune.com.Copyright © 2005, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.