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City Hall Revitalization

Slideshow pictures by: Rachel Smaller Photography

The United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification is an internationally renowned third-party green building recognition program. Projects are scored on six categories including Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation in Design. Learn more about the strategies that led to the City Hall Revitalization Project’s Gold certification below.

City Hall Brochure

Sustainable Sites

Stormwater Management

Stormwater management efforts are designed to mitigate two concerns, stormwater volume and quality. Stormwater that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff, which either flows directly into surface waterways or is channeled into storm sewers. This water, which can contain various contaminants and pollutants that collect along roadways, parking lots, and other hard surfaces, ultimately ends up in surface waters such as lakes and streams. Reducing stormwater volume and improving quality has a positive impact on our surface waters. One reason for flooding during heavy rainfall or snow melt events is the vast amount of impervious surfaces, such as parking lots and building roofs. When stormwater is kept on site, there is less water released to waterways that could contribute to flooding. Secondly, keeping stormwater on site allows it to percolate into the soil, which acts as a natural filter before water enters the underground aquifer.

The City Hall Revitalization Project employs three primary techniques to address stormwater:

City Hall
Pervious Pavers
Cross Section of Pervious Pavers

Blue Eyed Grass Found in Rain Gardens
Rain Gardens
Blue Eyed Grass Found in Rain Gardens
Green Roof in Bloom
Green Roof
Green Roof in Bloom

Although the size of the building increased, the City was able to avoid an increase in impervious surfaces and reduce total site runoff.

Heat Island

Heat Island - Dark surfaces, such as parking lots and roofs, absorb sunlight, which makes it harder to cool a building during warmer months, and creates a warming effect on the surrounding area. This heat island effect is commonly found in densely developed areas. By employing a light-colored or green roof, parking surfaces and shading, the sun’s rays are reflected. In addition, a green roof creates an evaporative cooling condition in the summer and serves as an insulator during the winter.

Shade Trees in Parking Lot
Shade Trees in Parking Lot
White Roof
White Roof

Alternative Transportation

Alternative Transportation - Promoting alternative transportation such as public transit, alternative fueled and hybrid vehicles, biking and walking, helps reduce fossil fuel use, emissions, and air pollution. It also helps promotes a healthy lifestyle. Visitors will find preferential parking for low emitting and fuel efficient vehicles at City Hall, and plenty of parking for bikes, too.

Fuel Efficient Vehicle Parking Signs
Fuel Efficient Vehicle Parking Signs
Bike Racks
Bike Racks

Water Efficiency

Water is not an infinite resource. In Michigan, we sometimes take water for granted due to our 3,288 miles of shoreline, 11,000 lakes, and 38,000 miles of rivers and streams. However, as seen in other parts of our country and across the world, humans are using water faster than the ecosystem can replenish it.

The City Hall Revitalization Project has reduced the amount of potable water used for irrigation by 50% and potable water use in the building by 47%. This reduction was accomplished by installing climate appropriate landscaping, reducing irrigated lawn areas, using drip irrigation and rain sensors, and utilizing low flow water fixtures such as 1/8 gallon per flush urinals and duel flush toilets.

Climate Appropriate Landscaping
Climate Appropriate Landscaping
Climate Appropriate Landscaping
Irrigation Rain Sensors
Water Efficient Irrigation
Irrigation Rain Sensors
Duel Flush Toilet
Low Flow Fixtures
Duel Flush Toilet

Energy & Atmosphere

One of the most recognized features of a sustainable building is energy efficiency. From high tech methods, such as geothermal heating and cooling, to methods used for thousands of years, like daylighting, City Hall balances technology with practicality to reduce energy use by over 30 percent.

Building Envelope

City Hall uses a combination of exterior insulation and spray foam along exterior walls, four inches of roof insulation, Low-E glass, translucent wall panels and other measures to efficiently maintain indoor environmental quality and thermal comfort.

Dow Thermax Insulation
Dow Thermax Insulation
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray Foam Insulation

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Geothermal heating and cooling, also known as ground-source or geoexchange, is among the most efficient technologies for providing thermal comfort. Forty vertical wells drilled to 285 feet use the ground as a heat source in the winter and a heat sink in the summer. This design takes advantage of the moderate temperatures in the ground (50 - 55° on average) to boost system efficiency and reduce operational costs. On the coldest winter nights, a geothermal heat pump can provide three - six units of heating for every one unit of energy consumed. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called ground source heat pumps the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning system available.

Geothermal Well Drilling Rig
Geothermal Well Drilling Rig
City Hall Geothermal Well Field
City Hall Geothermal Well Field

Geothermal Pump Room
Geothermal Pump Room
Photo by: Rachel Smaller Photography

Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV)

Energy recovery ventilation allows City Hall to utilize 70 - 80% of the energy typically lost when exhausting stagnant building air to pre-condition incoming fresh air. This method further reduces the amount of energy to provide space conditioning.

Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)
Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)

Diagram of ERV
Diagram of ERV

Solar Hot Water Heater

A solar hot water heating system uses a series of solar thermal panels to collect the sun’s energy to heat hot water. On most days, the sun provides 100% of the energy needs to fulfill City Hall’s hot water demands. Even during the winter, the sun can contribute significantly to providing hot water.

Solar Hot Water Tanks and Gauges
Solar Hot Water Tanks and Gauges
Solar Thermal Panels
Solar Thermal Panels
Photo by: Rachel Smaller Photography

Solar Photovoltaic Panels

Solar energy is "free" and creates no emissions. Ninety 210w solar photovoltaic panels convert solar radiation to electricity for use by City Hall. On many days, the panels produce much of the energy needed to power non-HVAC systems (i.e. computers, lighting, etc). Due to the City’s participation in DTE Energy’s Solar Currents program, no expired, the City is actually seeing many negative energy bills for non-HVAC electricity use.

Solar Photovoltaic Panels
Solar Photovoltaic Panels
Photo by: Rachel Smaller Photography
Solar Invertors
Solar Invertors
Photo by: Rachel Smaller Photography

Daylighting

Daylighting is not a new technology and has been around for centuries. Daylighting is the act of “harvesting” natural light to be used to illuminate interior spaces. Numerous strategies can be used to effectively harvest daylight and City Hall uses many of them. Examples of daylighting techniques include windows, translucent wall panels, skylights, and light tubes. In some areas of the building, daylight sensors are used to measure the level of daylight. In these areas, if sufficient daylight exists, lights will turn off or dim by 50%. When used effectively, daylighting can reduce energy use and improve indoor environmental quality.

Windows and Translucent Panels, City Hall Second Floor
Windows and Translucent Panels,
City Hall Second Floor
Photo by: Rachel Smaller Photography
Daylit Atrium
Daylit Atrium
Photo by: Rachel Smaller Photography

Energy Efficient Lighting

By using a combination of T8 fluorescent, compact fluorescent, Light Emitting Diodes (LED), and occupancy and daylight sensors, City Hall is able to efficiently provide lighting where and when needed.

LED Lit Corridor
LED Lit Corridor
LED Lit Corridor
T8 Light Fixtures

Occupancy Sensor
Occupancy Sensor

Materials & Resources

The City Hall Revitalization Project took numerous steps to reduce the need for and environmental impact of its building materials. Sustainable building is not just about diverting waste and using products made from recycled or renewable materials; it is also about how products are sourced and consuming fewer materials where possible.

Recycling BinsRecycling

At City Hall, and all other City facilities, recyclables are collected separately from trash. The City gathers the same materials that are collected as part of the residential curbside recycling program.

Building Reuse

Over 82% of the structural elements of the old part of City Hall were saved and reused. Many of these features have not been hidden, but in fact, have become focal points of the building such as the brick walls, space frame ceiling, and one of the most popular features, the polished concrete floor. What makes this floor popular and sustainable? Its popularity is due to the story it tells as you transition from old to new. Using the existing slab as a finished surface reduces the need for additional surfaces such as tile, carpet, cork, or other material that use energy and resources. It is also easy to clean and maintain, which reduces maintenance costs.

City Hall Corridor Featuring Reused Materials
City Hall Corridor Featuring Reused Materials
Photo by: Rachel Smaller Photography

Landfill Diversion

Over 86% of all construction waste was diverted from the landfill. Construction debris was sorted on site by type of material. Many of the bricks from the deconstructed “West Wing” were set aside to be used during the reconstruction of the older portion of the building.

Deconstruction of the Old West Wing
Deconstruction of the Old West Wing
Recycling Dumpsters
Recycling Dumpsters

Recycled Content

Purchasing products containing recycled content or postconsumer content helps to maintain the market for our recyclables. This demand helps keep materials out of our landfills and promotes the conservation of many precious resources. The City Hall Revitalization Project sourced many products containing recycled or postconsumer material, in some cases as high as 80%. Examples of such products include all aluminum framing and structural steel, ceiling tiles, counter tops, terrazzo stair treads, and carpet.

Regional Materials

Sourcing building materials locally or regionally helps reduce the energy and emissions associated with transportation and shipping. The City Hall Revitalization Project worked to source over 40% of its materials, by cost, within a 500 mile radius. City Hall is proud to feature many products manufactured and harvested right here in Michigan including the cement blocks and pavers supplied by Fendt Block and Supply made in Farmington Hills and Ann Arbor.

Map Showing Regionally Sourced Materials
Map Showing Regionally Sourced Materials

Indoor Environmental Quality

Up to 90% of our lives are spent indoors. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor environmental quality can have a significant impact on the health, comfort, well being, and productivity of building occupants. The EPA estimates that poor indoor air quality may cost the nation tens of billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and medical care. The old City Hall suffered from problems including drafts, poor heating and cooling, poor air quality due to a lack of sufficient ventilation and fresh air, a lack of daylight and views to the outside, leaking roofs, and more. By taking steps to improve indoor environmental quality, the City is reducing lost productivity due to the aforementioned distractions and sick leave. These efforts also provide for an improved environment for constituents and other building users.

Low Emitting Materials

New building finishes such as paints, carpets, and furniture can offgas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that over time can contribute to “sick building syndrome.” For this reason, the City Hall Revitalization Project required products and materials to meet low VOC specifications, which contributes to higher indoor air quality.

Increased Ventilation

Ventilation helps maintain high indoor air quality by removing stagnant air to control temperature, replenish oxygen, and remove moisture, ordors, heat, dust, airborne bacteria and carbon dioxide.

Daylight & Views

Numerous studies have illustrated the benefits of daylight to the well being and productivity of building occupants. Care was taken in the design of City Hall to ensure that daylight was available to a majority of building occupants and not just those along outside walls. Glass was used on the inside walls of private offices to ensure light reached those in common areas. Skylights and solar tubes were used to help get light into the inner office areas. Access to daylight and outside views is significantly greater than in the old City Hall.

Daylit Office Area
Daylit Office Area
Photo by: Rachel Smaller Photography
Daylit Office Corridor
Daylit Office Corridor
Photo by: Rachel Smaller Photography
Skylights
Skylights

Public Education

Showcasing sustainable building practices and educating the public about the benefits were central to the building’s design. More and more people are realizing that sustainable building makes good sense. Visitors to City Hall can learn about the building through displays, a building dashboard, and an accessible roof. Many of the strategies found throughout the building are not only transferable to the commercial sector, but to the residential sector as well.

For additional questions about City Hall, please contact the City Manager’s Office at (248) 871-2500.

A Community
Collaboration
A Community Collaboration
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Georgetown University Energy Prize
City of Farmington
Farmington Public Schools
Farmington Hills Sustainable