Friday June 16, 2017
Socket is getting dressed up in style to be honored at the Governor's Environmental Stewardship Awards Luncheon next month. Department of General Services applied to recognize its project, Fire Station 19. Fire Station 19 is the first LEED Platinum fire station is the entire southeast region. With more than 89 applications coming in across nine different categories, Fire Station 19 won the "Building Green" category. The Fire Station 19 project team and guests will attend a private awards luncheon at the Ellington Agricultural Center on June 16 to recognize their achievements.
Read more about all nine of the Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award winners here: http://www.tn.gov/news/50589
LEED® Platinum 2016
Platinum level certification is the highest such designation awarded to any fire station in the Southeast and the highest level in the category of New Construction for Nashville Metro Government.
Earned LEED® Innovation Points for Exemplary Performance for On-Site Renewable Energy and use of Regional Materials
33% indoor potable water use reduction
43.92% energy cost savings (as compared to a baseline building)
33kW photovoltaic system with a bi-directional meter that first powers then station then feeds back into electric meter for energy credits
15.51% on-site renewable energy generated by solar panels (total energy costs of building offset)
63% construction waste diverted from landfill
16% recycled content in building materials (by cost)
31.85% regional materials used (by cost, regionally manufactured and raw materials extracted)
Sometimes it takes an outside force to make us look at things in a new light. When Nancy Whittemore became the Director of General Services in 2003, she was faced with not only changing the course of the operational side but the overall attitude of its employees.
With few procedures in place, Whittemore went on to redirect the course of General Services.
Whittemore and her team essentially changed the mantra of the department. “Our goal is to provide high performance buildings,” said Whittemore, “as well as improve job satisfaction and employee performance.”
As with most businesses, Whittemore and her team were charged with lowering operating costs. This meant creating standards for preventative maintenance, energy efficiency in the buildings, and more. “Honestly, we didn’t even call it ‘sustainability’ but that’s what we were doing. As long as you are doing the right things and put in the right business principles, it doesn’t matter whether you call it ‘going green’ or ‘sustainability,’” said Whittemore.
Incorporating sustainability within General Services came with the standardization Whittemore and her team were putting in place by addressing problem areas. At the time, there was no preventive maintenance plan in place, so the team had to figure out how to save money to replace mechanicals.
Funds were tight, but the department found areas where costs could be reduced with a better plan. “We found that where Metro was putting most of their money was around environmental issues,” said Whittemore.
Air quality, dampness and mold, low-performing mechanical equipment – these were all concerns that in the past had just been patched up. “We came up with a solution versus just a Band-aid,” said Whittemore.
These solutions included conducting a trash audit to justify a recycling program, data collection and physical inventory for each building. So when General Services was given the responsibility of building management, they were already on the right path.
But as with most solutions, it takes a group effort to make General Services run smoothly. Whittemore empowered her staff to try new things to save costs; whether they worked was secondary. “It’s OK here to say you tried this and it didn’t work,” said Whittemore.
Now with all hands on deck, General Services can continue to champion the cause of sustainability in Nashville.
Nothing empowers a team more than explaining the benefits of all their hard work. So when General Services Director Nancy Whittemore started implementing new procedures for the department – share mini-refrigerators, use the recycling bins, even eliminate unessential small appliances (e.g., coffee warmers) – she was sure to add the ever-necessary “Why?”
Part of the reason for the sustainability efforts within General Services came down from the city of Nashville.
“The [city] council passed legislation that all new buildings and rehabilitated buildings over $500,000 had to be LEED silver,” Whittemore explained.
Then, when General Services was challenged with the construction and design end of building operations, they were in the position to green the entire process.
This, plus the creation of the 2009 Green Ribbon Report at the time, made sustainability a driving force for the department. Soon after, General Services started using sustainable resources for its building construction. Bamboo, a renewable resource that regrows much faster than traditional hardwoods, was used for floors instead of tree-based wood. Recycled milk cartons were used for dividers in restrooms.
And many buildings had automatic light sensors installed so energy wouldn’t be used when no one was in the room. But when employees didn't understand why these new procedures would benefit them, Whittemore and her team had to come up with a plan.
And Socket was born.
"We believe if people understand what we’re trying to do then people will start doing the right thing," said Whittemore.
A source to disseminate the information behind these green decisions was essential. Whittemore met with Ameresco Inc., an independent provider of comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for facilities. Their meeting led to an “A-ha” moment, according to Whittemore. “We love trying to figure out how you strategize to get people to buy in,” she said.
Their previous efforts – email correspondence, an updated website – didn’t turn on the city’s employees. With the Socket program, employees can understand why it’s important General Services continues to do what it does in the name of sustainability. “We’ve gone from being like the facility police to engaging our community of customers,” said Whittemore.
Socket is the outreach program of General Services and is now housed within the new Sustainability Division. Socket provides a platform for the department to convey its sustainability message with the use of Socket the mascot, the website, blog, newsletter, digital kiosks and other hi-tech touches.
“If people don’t know, we can’t expect them to understand it,” said Whittemore.
Through the Socket program, employees and Nashville visitors alike can learn about the city’s LEED facilities and how to live and work in more sustainable ways.
“This is an opportunity for us to tell our story,” said Whittemore. “We can showcase not only what General Services is doing but the mayor as well. There is so much going on in this city.”
Several buildings under General Services’ charge also have electric car power stations and bike racks to promote cleaner transportation options.