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Hinman New Office Building Earns LEED Gold Certification

Hinman Company LEED statsOn November 8, 2011, The Hinman Company received notification from the Green Building Certification Institute that its’ newly constructed two story, 24,000 square-foot office building located at 610 S. Burdick Street in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan, achieved the designation of Leadership in Energy Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification.  According to LEED Projects & Case Study Directory the project is the first newly constructed office building in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek area to be LEED Gold Certified.

LEED is a building rating system developed by the United States Green Building Council.  LEED buildings are designed and constructed using strategies aimed at improving a building’s performance across key metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emission reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources.

To achieve the LEED Gold Certification, Hinman had to both design and construct an office building within these key metrics.

Hinman’s Designer, Tiffany Costonde, and its Director of Sustainability, Stephanie Hinman, worked together to research many products, building designs and materials to identify those that met LEED criteria.  Materials that contribute to LEED certification are those that can be extracted and manufactured locally, contain recycled content, and emit limited volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  “Finding products that contribute to LEED credits is getting easier as more companies are becoming conscious of sustainable aspects,” Costonde explained.  “We found that there is a variety of options out there that do address aesthetics, functionality, and budget.”

During the construction process, in order to achieve the LEED certification, additional steps had to be taken to protect the air quality for both the on-site trade workers and the building’s future tenant, InterAct of Michigan, Inc.

Operating under an Indoor Air Quality Management Plan, the various on-site trades worked to protect the HVAC system, control pollutant sources, maintain uninterrupted pathways, and coordinate the installation of materials to avoid contamination of the building’s absorptive materials.  According to Hinman’s Director of Construction, Joe Kuiper, the result of achieving LEED marked a milestone in his career in commercial building construction: “This is the cleanest site I have ever worked on and it really helps the quality of the workmanship.”

The quality of workmanship can be seen with a quick tour of the building, but the details of the construction are what set aside the project as both a LEED Gold Certified project and a Hinman project.  For instance, an abundance of windows on the building allow for natural daylight, the LiveRoof System atop the canopies helps to reduce storm-water runoff from the building, and the concrete parking lot, as opposed to asphalt, reduces the “heat island effect”, a process whereby the sun is absorbed by the dark asphalt causing an increase in ambient temperature as that heat radiates.

Additionally, the interior design of the building includes a 6 foot Pedimat walkoff mat that reduces the amount of dirt and other particulates from entering as you enter the building.  There is no “new smell” typically associated with paints, caulks, sealants, adhesives and flooring as the products used in the building are low-emitting materials, which means they contain a limited amount of VOCs.  The building also has occupancy sensors throughout that help decrease energy usage by timing lights to turn off after no motion has been detected for a set period of time, and the low flow plumbing fixtures that attribute to water use reduction by using less water than traditional fixtures.

The benefit of Hinman’s commitment to LEED certification on this project has translated into tangible cost savings for the building’s tenant, InterAct of Michigan, a non-profit organization that helps people manage mental illness and live successfully in the community.

“Our utility bills have been so low that our Board of Directors asked us to check and see if there was some errant calculation on Consumers Energy’s part,” recalls InterAct’s Executive Director, Claudia Wink-Basing.  “We received a call back this week from a representative at Consumers who confirmed the bills were accurate.”

The Hinman team is proud to support the local charitable community and be a sustainable steward of development in the Southwest Michigan development community for years to come.  To symbolize this accomplishment, the building will receive its LEED Gold plaque in the near future, which once installed, can be seen from the Burdick St. entrance.

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