News: Minnesota Guard builds on environmental commitment
Story by Sgt. John Angelo
ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard strives to be a steward of the environment in many ways. One way is with the planning of new buildings built to green standards. Once such building is the recently completed Field Maintenance Shop on the Arden Hills Army Training Site. The 107,500-square-foot facility was completed earlier this month and is one of the largest and most modern maintenance facilities in the country. The FMS is nearly 50,000 square feet of work bays - 30 work bays, four warm-up bays and two wash bays. There is also 20,000 square feet of storage and 11 acres of military vehicle parking.
The $25 million-dollar project was built by Stahl Construction, St. Louis Park, Minn., and was designed by BWBR Architects, St. Paul, Minn., keeping the contract local. It has many features that were designed to fit the goals of sustainability set by the Minnesota National Guard and is expected to receive a LEED (Leadership on Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
"We were also thrilled to be able to work on a project with sustainability goals," said John Petersen, Stahl's project manager. "Our storm water management and building's green features make it a facility that the Army National Guard can be proud of."
“It’s a very successful project,” said Dennis Arntson, Project Manger, Minnesota National Guard Facilities Management Office (FMO). “From start to finish, during design and construction, all parties worked well on the project.”
Some of the green elements in the facility include solar hot water heating, 80,000 square feet of in-floor radiant heating, 40kW solar photovoltaic systems and an inverted roof for light harvesting. The daylight harvesting (exterior glazing to bring light into offices, classrooms, the gym, break and the maintenance training bay spaces) was paired with harvesting switching and dimming controls. When the sun provides enough light the lights automatically dim or turn off.
A unique water collection system collects the rainwater from one half of the building, storing it in a 25,000-gallon underground cistern for reuse for site irrigation. Rainwater collected on the other half is stored in a 20,000-gallon underground concrete cistern and filtered for use in the wash bays.
The photovoltaic system for generating electrical power was designed with a maximum capacity of 39.9kW, and a minimum of 51,000kWH total annual energy production. It currently supplies 6.5 percent of the electricity used in the building and the goal is to reach 7 percent.
The Minnesota National Guard also optimized energy performance to comply with the Energy Policy Act of 2005. A Direct Digital Control system for monitoring building operations, night setbacks, morning start up, remote monitor, safeties and alarms. It also will control temperature, humidity and building pressure. Make up air units were installed for heat recovery. Occupancy sensors were also installed for both lighting and ventilation systems.
The detail and foresight in planning with energy conservation in mind even went as far as the domestic hot water used in the building being generated by a solar thermal system, water-to-air heat pumps in both heating and cooling systems, and installing high efficiency equipment and appliances.
Environmental stewardship was in the forefront of the outside designs when it came to the surrounding areas as well. The privately-owned vehicle parking lot in front of the building was made with permeable pavement to allow rainwater to permeate through the pavement instead of causing ditch runoff and possible erosions of surrounding areas. Drainage swells were put in the large military vehicle parking compound and bio-retention ponds and native plantings as well as low maintenance planting was used.
“It all reduces the impact into the neighboring properties, the municipal infrastructure and the watershed,” said Arntson.
Even during the construction process of the building, keeping green was a goal with 85 percent of the construction debris being diverted from landfills by recycling. Durable building materials were used to provide longevity and low maintenance. The building was built to a high R-value as well.
The Minnesota National Guard focuses on being a champion of the environment and the new FMS is just one example of the emphasis placed on sustainability. Planning of future endeavors are made with sustainability in mind.
"The Minnesota National Guard operates in 63 communities throughout our state,” said Minnesota Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash. "It is crucial that we optimize the physical capabilities at each location. Our locations enable us to best meet our mission requirements, while enhancing partnerships throughout the communities in which we serve.”
“Looking ahead, it is of utmost importance that we continue to build our environmental programs and improve the sustainability of our facilities,” said Nash. “Deliberate efforts to reduce energy consumption, manage natural resources effectively and minimize waste are essential elements of our ability to sustain our capabilities into the future and remain good stewards of our limited resources and the environment."