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Green Initiatives

Building Design

Asset Management: Property Management has implemented an asset management program to track, analyze, and control energy consumption in facilities.  Through the use of energy consumption/cost software, the program enables Property Management to identify opportunities for improvement. With this knowledge, the department can achieve energy savings, a capital plan, and organize maintenance activities.

Integrative Design: A conventional approach to building design often involves looking at one component of a building at a time and evaluating how that certain component can be utilized or upgraded to a higher level of efficiency. Integrative design, on the other hand, looks at the design of a building as a whole by considering how all of its components can interact together. Old and new technologies are combined in a way that integrates the several systems of a building to maximize its overall efficiency. St. Louis County Property Management has implemented principles of integrative design into its most recent work updating the Government Services Center, and seeks to follow this approach in future projects related to the construction, renovation, or management of County facilities.

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Building Placement: Finding the optimal placement for a building has important implications for its energy efficiency and sustainability. Though conditions vary from site to site, there are several considerations to be made when building or remodeling a new structure. Depending on the climate, buildings should be oriented to maximize its solar access or shading in order to optimize passive solar heating, day lighting, or cooling. The sun’s energy is a free renewable resource that can be taken advantage of by facing heat gaining spaces within 15 degrees of due south. Simply giving a building the right shape and orientation can cut energy use by 30-40 percent and comes at no extra cost. Important considerations such as these influenced the placement of the new Public Safety Building, which is positioned along the east/west axis to maximize southern exposure for heat gain during the winter, and minimize west window heat gain during summer months.

Environmental Landscaping: Landscaping need not be a complete aesthetic alteration of a structure’s surroundings. Existing land-forms and vegetation can be taken advantage of to enhance a building’s appearance, comfort, and energy performance. Earthen embankments or sloped sites can be utilized to block prevailing winter winds or deflect noise; deciduous trees can provide shading in the summer and solar gain in the winter. Preserving the natural surroundings often minimizes lawn area, reducing planting, maintenance costs, and water use. Building on the least inhabited part of a site greatly reduces a structure’s impact on the environment while preserving the surrounding natural beauty, providing both aesthetic character and comfort to the occupants. Environmental landscaping was employed at the Public Safety Building by utilizing existing deciduous trees to provide southern shading in the summer and sloping landforms to block winter winds in the north and west.

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