Completion

Completion date
Jul 02, 2012

Occupancy

161 employees, plus 4 courtrooms and two large waiting areas.

Days per year Building is fully occupied:
260

Scope

A leading project goal was to create a model, productive and inspiring workplace by producing optimized indoor air quality through ventilation, building science, materials selection and elimination of nearly all fossil fuel combustion; increasing the views to the natural world; and enhancing daylighting. High environmental goals lead this project to achieve a LEED Gold rating.
Another goal was to establish the State of Vermont as a leader in net-zero ready energy performance, and to demonstrate that deep energy retrofits can transform poor energy performing buildings into net-zero ready standards within budgets set for code compliant construction.
And, of course, the renovation needed to provide functional, safe, secure and pleasant state of the art court space for the public and staff—and to exemplify prudent, long-term investment in capital, energy and maintenance costs. The project scope included renovation and reconstruction of the 65,000 sf state office buildings, court rooms, and large public waiting areas.

Type of Construction New, Renovated
Floor area of each building 65,000
Stories 3

Location and Climate Details

District courthouse and state office building

Address
Bennington, VT 05201
United States
Location Type Urban
Climate Region Zone 6
Köppen Climate Type Dfb
Lat. / Long. POINT (-73.1967741 42.8781345)
Elevation 800 ft
Solar Insolation 3.55 kWh/m2/day
Annual CDD and Base Temp 900 | 65
Annual HDD and Base Temp 6401 | 65

Site

Site conditions:
previously developed land, preexisting structure(s)
Site description:

The site consisted of an existing one-story building with a three-story section tied to a one-story addition with adjacent parking. The new site plan parking is broken into small areas and is interspersed with vegetation and pathways. Irrigation free landscaping reduces the buiding’s water consumption.

Materials and Design Strategy

Materials::

All mechanical systems and controls were designed to optimize indoor air quality, an important keystone to this project. Environmental standards for indoor air quality were determined at the beginning and maintained throughout design and construction. Polished concrete flooring in office areas minimizes the collection of dust and allergens, while low or no-VOC emitting stains, paints and adhesives reduce off-gassing. Rigorous air quality testing following EPA protocol demonstrated that containment concentrations were well below allowable levels. Additionally, when construction was complete, a prolonged ventilation flushout was conducted in conformance with LEED standards, further ensuring optimum indoor air quality levels were achieved.

Low flow sinks, toilets and urinals contribute to a projected 40 percent reduction in potable water consumption compared to an average building. A solar hot water system is projected to supply over half of all the hot water needs for the building.

Special architectural measures::

The existing Bennington Superior Courthouse and State Office Building was composed of an original one-story building with a three-story section tied to a one-story addition. Initially, the state planned to renovate both portions of the building. However, during programming, it became evident that the existing single story building did not function well for courtroom or energy purposes, and it created an unattractive and unwelcoming entrance. More specifically, this massing created conflicts with courtroom circulation and security. It also was oriented to maximize east and west windows causing potential daylighting and overheating conflicts as well as maximizing the exterior surface area of the building causing energy and budget issues.

Daylighting and artificial lighting systems were carefully integrated into the design for maximum user satisfaction and energy savings. To create inviting and pleasing spaces for the public, lobbies and corridors were located on the south side of the building, decreasing the need for artificial lighting in these spaces. All east, south and west facing windows in occupied spaces include glare-controlling, light-filtering blinds to ensure comfort for building occupants. South-facing transom windows are designed into many occupied spaces, utilizing light-guiding blinds to reflect daylight deep into the building’s interior. Exterior sun shades are located on the south and west facades of the building to reduce unwanted summer solar heat gain. This building uses an open loop, daylight harvesting system, which automatically adjusts the artificial lighting levels in many of the offices, conference rooms, and courtrooms, depending on the availability of daylight.

Low flow sinks, toilets and urinals contribute to a projected 40 percent reduction in potable water consumption compared to an average building. A solar hot water system is projected to supply over half of all the hot water needs for the building.

The design team offered multiple design alternatives with costing to resolve these issues. Through this process the state decided to tear down the one-story section of the building and locate a three-story addition oriented directly south. This solution lowered the surface area to volume ratio (thereby reducing heating and cooling loads), improved the efficiency of court operations, improved daylighting opportunities, improved employee and public connections to the site, and improved the public entry experience. In addition this option was less expensive than the preliminary design options. For these reasons, the state decided to pursue this path.

LCA Description:

In the selection of materials, life-cycle costs and proximity of production and/or extraction sites were carefully considered. As much as reasonable, Vermont materials were incorporated, including Vermont manufactured brick; locally quarried marble sills, lintels and accent band;, and locally quarried slate flooring for public corridors and lobbies. Additionally, more than half of the wood-based materials used for the project are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.

Indoor Environment Description:
A leading project goal was to create a model, productive and inspiring workplace by producing optimized indoor air quality through ventilation, building science, materials selection and elimination of nearly all fossil fuel combustion; increasing the views to the natural world; and enhancing daylighting. High environmental goals lead this project to achieve a LEED Gold rating.