Earth Consultants

Applying Lean Six Sigma to the Environment

Rockwell Collins goes green with LEED buildings

2 min read

I had the opportunity to tour one of the LEED certified buildings on the Rockwell Collins campus in Cedar Rapids, IA. The older building of the two is Gold certified, and the newer one is Silver.

At the beginning of the project, they discovered that many LEED buildings cost around $250 per square foot. They were able to complete the 120,000 square foot pre-engineered building for less than $100 per square foot. The additional investment in obtaining LEED certification, and the enhancements required to achieve a high enough score, had a payback of about one year. Therefore, in the 2nd year, they would start to see cost savings, compared to a non-LEED certified building.

Some of the cool features that are included in these buildings include:

  • 99% of construction waste — more than 1,000 tons — was diverted from the landfill
  • Building footprint covers only 2.75 acres, and nearby pond was incorporated into the design
  • More than 30 dedicated parking spaces for low-emissions and fuel-efficient vehicles
  • 40% (385 gallons) of water use reduction through waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, rainfall capture on roof, etc
  • Exceeds ASHRAE 90.1-2004 minimum energy performance requirements by more than 20%
  • More than 15% of building material is recycled content
  • Energy Star reflective roofing
  • Lots of natural light to minimize need for lighting, and lights are on timers and motion sensors to reduce costs when left on
  • Energy efficient windows with shades to reduce heating effects
  • To reduce driving and wasted time to get to the main facility (headquarters) across the street, a shuttle vehicle was setup that runs every 5 minutes
  • Chaning rooms and showers to encourage bike riding
  • Optimized parking lot lighting
  • Low VOC paint and coatings, and carpet contained recycled content
  • Xerascaping (native plants) deployed to minimize amount of water usage
  • Variable frequency drives (VFD) installed on equipment to reduce electricity costs of large equipment, part of larger energy management software system

The cafeteria is also very modern, clean and open, with access to the outside, so employees can eat with visitors, or just enjoy the weather. There is also a nice walkway near the pond, which is located between the two buildings.

As an employee, if you need a break from work, try hitting some putts in the break area, or put together a puzzle.
To learn more about this project, visit the OPN architects website:
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