Mortenson's Seattle Office Gives Jobsite Trailer GREEN Makeover
September 28, 2009
Seattle, WA - Mortenson has given a construction project site trailer a “green” makeover, incorporating recycled and reused materials, and energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling components. By making small changes to a used trailer, energy savings is expected to exceed 30 percent.
“We have always focused on building green projects, it seems fitting we work green as well,” said Melissa Teichman, an assistant project manager with Mortenson who planned the trailer retrofit. “There are many energy-efficient and eco-friendly products available; bringing them all together can result in huge energy savings and an eco-friendly working environment.”
The trailer is being tested with daily use at Seattle University as the home of the Lemieux Library Renovation project team. The project is designed to meet LEED® Gold standards and the trailer will be submitted as a LEED® innovation credit.
The team hosted an open house on September 24, and installed circular signs to identify green or energy-efficient attributes that correlated to PVC-free banner explaining the benefit. Lighting specialists held demonstrations showing real-time energy savings to members of the team and guests from the University and community.
The lighting system and heat pump will provide the greatest energy savings. The ceiling, insulation, and windows create a heating and cooling “envelope” that assist with climate control. Energy savings is a benefit to the project owner, Seattle University, who pays directly for energy use.
- Trailer walls are insulated using R-21 rated insulation and R-25 insulation in the roof. This creates a better building envelope, decreasing heating and cooling costs.
- The upgraded heat pump is 38 percent more energy efficient for heating than a current industry standard heat pump.
- The thermostat can be programmed over a period of one week. This ensures heating costs are decreased when the trailer is unoccupied and creates a comfortable working environment for the staff.
- Installed in the trailer is a Lutron Grafik Eye QS with EcoSystem control system, donated by Inside Outfitters. This system integrates a master wall mount control panel and three additional user panels which operate individual zones of light. Users are able to customize zones of light, brightness, and program presets throughout the day and week. The system comes with occupancy and daylight sensors for maximum accuracy and sensitivity during operation. Energy savings are visible in real time when the lights are dimmed and displayed in a wall station control panel in a matter of seconds. By increasing zones of light and user control, less energy is wasted.
- By retrofitting existing T-8 fluorescent light fixtures, the team was able to install new ballasts with dimming capabilities. This enables a reduction in electrical load by 10 to 75 percent depending on setting.
- Vinyl dual glazed, Low E, solar coated windows improve insulation by allowing less air and energy loss.
- By using solar window shades rather than vinyl mini blinds, sun glare is significantly decreased and the shades also help absorb some of the sun’s warmth easing the heat pump load.
Salvaged and Eco-Friendly Materials
- The slanted-shingle roof contains 12 percent post-industrial recycled content. The Armstrong Cortega ceiling grid is made of 28 to 49 percent recycled material. The entire ceiling system has been salvaged from an old trailer.
- The flooring, which is HFHC (Healthy Forest Healthy Community) certified was created from the wood of fallen Alpine Grade Douglas Fir and donated by Division 9 Flooring.
- Walls have been salvaged from an existing trailer and wrapped in vinyl. The exterior of the building is painted with Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, decreasing harmful toxins contributing to global warming and is less harmful to human lungs.
- Solar shades break down over time are PVC free.
Benefits to Users
- An open floor plan allows for maximum natural light to penetrate the space and natural light is increased with 2 Solatube skylights.
- The solar window shades are free of PVC, a hazardous consumer product. These shades prevent staff from inhaling VOC off-gases.
- The heat pump has improved ventilation technology which improves indoor air quality.
For Mortenson Construction, sustainability remains a focus, even in a down economy. More than 50% of the operations and project staff have earned LEED® Accreditation. Currently, Mortenson has built 22 LEED® Certified or better projects, with 47 additional projectsin the certification process, and has installed 27 percent of U.S. wind power.
Seattle University is a leader in sustainability and has implemented a number of ambitious and innovative projects, including plans for its Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons. All new and renovation projects at the university must meet LEED® Gold standards.