Our friend at Baskervill in Richmond, Virginia offered us some insights into how green design strategies can be applied to a large commercial distribution facility to yield tangible savings. They were able to achieve 5-year pay-back for all of the green design investment incorporated, while making it possible for the client to realize an additional tax rebate to further justify the up-front investments. This case study is just another example of how all architecture should be green architecture.
The Trivett Distribution Center is a 300,000 square foot warehouse that Baskervill designed to capture all of the tax credits available through the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The distribution center achieved 57 percent more energy efficiency than the baseline energy standards.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) was enacted to provide a new federal tax deduction for expenses incurred for new and renovated energy-efficient commercial buildings. The maximum deduction for the whole building is equal to $1.80 per square foot, with partial deductions available. Applicants must acquire the blueprint for energy tax incentives from their qualified tax professional. The EPAct 2005 includes incentives for building owners as well as the lessee.
The improvements must reduce the energy and power operational costs by a minimum of 16 2/3 percent over the baseline energy standard as outlined in the ASHRAE 90.1-2001 requirements, the code minimum at the time the act was established. A qualified engineer is required to prepare an energy model using certified software as approved by te Department of Energy.
The maximum deduction is reached by achieving 50 percent over the baseline energy standard, which allows full credit of $0.60 per square foot for each of the three separate building systems:
- Interior lighting system
- Heating, cooling, ventilation, and hot water systems
- Building envelope
Some of the strategies employed include:
- Automatic lighting controls, occupant sensors, photocells, timeclocks
- Semi-conditioned space – heating and air conditioning with reduced thermal comfort standards
- Improved fan efficiency, reductions in static pressure
Currently EPAct 2005 tax deductions have been extended until 2013. The calculated payback for Trivett is under five years without factoring in the tax deduction. Due to the overwhelming success of this project, our industrial team attempts to achieve some level of EPAct benchmarks in all of our distribution centers as a standard of practice. Having the incentives in place gives our clients the financial benefits for having done so.
Water-proof Membrane (No vapor barriers required): Continuous on all six sides of building either above or below continuous insulation.
Lighting: Use only dimmable fluorescent (T-5) with 10% dimming electronic ballasts controlled by sensors to use available day light. Use recommended minimum IESNA foot candle levels for the specific visual task. Automatic occupancy sensors to turn off lighting when occupant leaves a space, and solar sensing blinds to prevent direct sun into the occupied space.
Glass: Exceed Energy Code minimums for performance. All glass on North & South exposures with South facing glass using external sun shades. No glass on East or West exposures.
Building Automation Systems: Controlling occupied/unoccupied times of day to optimize lighting, temperatures, security, fire detection and alarm systems.
Insulation: Exceed Energy Code minimums with continuous board insulation type (foam, rigid or fiberglass) for all six sides of building (foam only below lowest floor slab).
Energy Model – Computer software used to calculate energy, power consumption and costs must be approved by the Department of Energy
Heat Recovery Device – Building exhaust air used to pre-heat incoming ventilation air-Total Energy Wheel is best.
Smaller HVAC Loads – Smaller units = less weight on building = smaller footings and structural elements
57% energy use reduction
65% less energy for lighting
25% less energy for air intake
50% high efficacy in mechanical system fans
14% higher mechanical system combustion efficiency
50% higher efficient windows
47% less solar heat gain
16X more efficient warehouse roll-up doors
13X more efficient partitions separating offices and warehouse space
4.7X better insulation value in building envelope
3.3X better insulation value in the office envelope
Baskervill Environmental and Energy Practices (BEEP) is an internal resource aimed at educating clients on design that will benefit the environment, as well as maximizing the financial incentives available. Baskervill boasts 26 BEEP team members, over 20 LEED APs, and has currently completed eight LEED certified projects with two more underway.