CASE STUDY: REVISIT
Lewis & Clark State Office Building
Holding Steady: Robust systems and good management deliver consistent energy savings.
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The Lewis & Clark office building for Missouri's Department of Natural Resources was designed to showcase the potential for low-energy, green design on a tight budget. The project features under-floor air distribution, daylighting, photovoltaic panels on the roof, solar water-heating panels, and a graywater toilet-flush system using captured rainwater runoff from the building's roof.
The building's actual energy use is consistent with the results of a simulation created by the commissioning agent, sys-tek, based on the building as built. Assuming that the energy utilization intensity (EUI) predicted in the original designs follows the ASHRAE and LEED practice in effect at the time and excludes plug loads, this energy use is also consistent with the design prediction and is remarkably consistent from year to year, both in total usage and in the breakdown by fuel.
A 2007 occupant survey revealed that staff were generally pleased with the lighting and air quality, and satisfied with the temperature controls, but split between satisfied and dissatisfied on the acoustics and on the building as a whole. “The biggest problem is that everyone is in a cube, and they weren't in cubes before,” explains Leigh Ann Wilbers, general services program director at the department.
Our original story reported on a problem with exterior light shades that were not installed as designed and hence allow some direct sunlight penetration, creating glare at some workstations during certain times of day. Staff resorted to tacking up cardboard to block the offending rays, a problem that still awaits a more elegant solution, according to Wilburs. With the exception of those trouble spots, Wilburs reports that the daylighting continues to be appreciated.
Getting access to multiple years of actual utility-bill data is unusual, notes project architect Laura Lesniewski of BNIM, and a credit to both the facility managers and the architects for continuing to track and share it. The consistency of that data suggests that the systems are both robust and well managed, if not as aggressive as the aspirations reflected in the early design goals. Unfortunately, the contributions of the photovoltaics in the standing seam room are not being tracked separately, so we don't know whether they are providing the planned 2.5 percent of the building's energy needs or not.