When Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities began designing a new home for its Lab Services and Environmental Management staff, it was important to create one with minimal environmental impact. Each day Utilities employees work to ensure high quality drinking water and wastewater treatment for Mecklenburg County, so protecting the environment is a commitment we take very seriously.
The building is off Billy Graham Parkway near the Irwin Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. We received a
Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
(LEED) certification for the building. This is the first Charlotte city government LEED facility.
article about sustainability
Some of the highlights include
* Low-flow faucets, shower heads and toilets
* Native, water-efficient landscaping
* Capturing, disinfecting and recycling HVAC condensation
* These water-saving strategies reduce water consumption by 30 percent.
* "Daylighting," or maximizing natural light
* Orienting the building, skylights and windows for optimal light
* Motion sensors to trigger lighting
* "Cool roof" made from a white, reflective material
* Energy-efficient lighting and lab exhaust system
* In addition to making it a pleasant place to work and visit, daylighting reduces the building's lighting and cooling needs.
* Combinations of all these strategies and more are expected to reduce the building's energy use by 20 percent.
* Diverting 80 percent of construction waste from the landfill
* Once occupied, staff will recycle paper, plastic, glass and cardboard. Because this houses the Utilities Lab Services Division that tests water quality, we will recycle thousands of lab sample bottles a month.
* Locally-manufactured products with recycled or rapidly renewable materials
* Carpet with high percentage of recycled content
* Linoleum made from linseed oil from the flax plant
* Furniture certified by the Greenguard Environmental Institute because it does not give off harmful chemicals
* Doors, cabinetry and lab casework made from wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for sustainable forestry practices
Indoor Air Quality
* Paints and sealants are free of harmful chemicals
* Building must pass indoor air quality tests prior to completion
* Carbon dioxide sensors provide fresh air from outside to office and conference spaces as needed
* Retention pond behind the building reduces the volume and speed of rain water runoff
* Native plants prevent erosion and help filter pollutants
* Limiting paved surfaces and preserving trees absorb and filter rain water