Spectrum Design Announces Completion of Blacksburg's "Greenest" Building
Monday, August 10th, 2009
The Town of Blacksburg and Roanoke-based Spectrum Design announced the completed restoration of the historic Blacksburg Motor Company at a public open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on August 7 . Formerly home to the Doc Roberts tire store and service center, and Blacksburg Motors, the 84-year-old building was transformed into a Municipal Service Annex and offices for Blacksburg's Department of Planning and Building and Department of Engineering and GIS.
As part of the $2.6 million renovation, Spectrum Design helped oversee the installation of multiple sustainable features and systems to facilitate the application for LEED® Platinum Certification of the 13,500 square-foot building. A sampling of low-impact and energy-efficient design elements include:
Rain gardens to absorb water from the roof and lawn, and a rain barrel for water collection during dry months
Infiltration trenches and bio-retention features
Ultra high-efficiency, geothermal heating and cooling system
Extensive natural day-lighting, as well as mechanical and lighting systems with automatic turn-off capability
Low-water use plumbing system with anticipated water savings of 50 percent
Isolated indoor pollution sources with separate ventilation systems
Amenities to encourage bicycle commuting to work
Low maintenance and recycled materials were also utilized throughout the construction process.
Spectrum Design also managed the process for recouping $1.2 million in historic tax credits for the project, a process that President John Garland says is often misunderstood but extremely valuable for municipal projects. "Understanding how historic preservation tax credits can be put to use can save a town tens of thousands of dollars," says Garland. "Combining these benefits with LEED benefits means even more cost-savings over time. That we were able to preserve and restore the Blacksburg Motor Company using tax credits and make it greener at the same time is a terrific success for everyone involved."
"Sustainability was the priority consideration in every design decision and Spectrum Design brought tenacity and creativity to deliver a LEED renovation project that met strict historic standards and promoted a strong collaborative design process which educated all participants," said Adele Schirmer, director of the Engineering and GIS Department for the Town of Blacksburg.
The project was not met without challenges, Schirmer says, which included "designing sustainable site elements within constraints of residual site contamination, balancing preservation with desired energy efficiency and incorporating the best of current green building practices. Many budget balancing evaluations were required.
"The Town was very fortunate to have such a talented and enthusiastic project team working on the Blacksburg Motor Company. At the end of the day, the successes that were achieved in this project were due to our ability to work together through common challenges to accomplish uncommon levels of success."
Click here to see photos of the project.