Justice center awarded LEED certification

CHARLESTON – ZMM Architects and Engineers announced the Wood County Justice Center has achieved the long-awaited Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

LEED certification levels were developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C.-based, nonprofit coalition of building industry leaders. More than 44,000 projects are participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising more than 8 billion square feet of construction in 50 states and 120 countries, according to ZMM. The standards were originally developed in 1999.

A United States General Services Administration study found buildings with LEED certification used 26 percent less energy, produced 33 percent less carbon dioxide, have 13 percent less maintenance cost and 27 percent higher occupant satisfaction than similar buildings.

The justice center houses the law enforcement division of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office, magistrate court and holding center.

The 15-year-old, 32,000-square-foot, single-story former Public Debt office building was renovated into the center. The building was purchased by the Wood County Commission with the stated purpose of bringing under one roof three government functions that had outgrown their separate buildings.

“In addition to providing improvements to the civic presence and security of the building, the new justice center achieved the LEED-certified designation for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. The decision by the commission to renovate/repurpose an existing office building was the most sustainable decision. It gave use to a previously developed structure, and diverted a significant amount of waste from landfills. The existing heating, ventilation, air-conditioning system was removed and replaced with a more energy efficient system and new, energy efficient lighting was installed with automatic controls,” said Adam Krason, project design architect, ZMM Architects and Engineers.

“Our government needs to be in a leadership position to guide us to a more responsible future. This process benefits the citizens of Wood County in many ways, and will save money through reduced energy costs, while also providing a healthier indoor environment,” said commission President Wayne Dunn.

When the commission decided to seek the LEED status, then commission President Blair Couch said the certification would help the county reduce operating costs for the building over time.

The commission earlier retained Engineering Economics Inc. of Roanoke, Va., to inspect and review the building in order to assist with the LEED compliance and certification process. The contract with the firm was for $39,116.

The Wood County Justice Center – Joseph P. Albright Sr. Building was dedicated in December 2011. Total construction cost , including final change orders for the facility came in around $5.1 million. The former magistrate court building was razed to create space for a parking lot. The former holding center and law enforcement building are still standing.

ZMM architect/engineer Adam Krason was the project designer, Jarvis, Downing and Emch Construction was the main contractor on the project.