Wilmette Public Works Facility Becomes One of Few to Hit Gold

Many municipalities across the nation have legislated the greening of their facilities. Only a handful of public works buildings, however, aim as high as LEED Gold. Wilmette’s new public works facility did just that.

Designed by Legat Architects, Inc. and Epstein, the 2009 expansion and renovation included a 12,900 SF administrative office and wash bay addition, 15,000 SF of interior remodeling and various site improvements. “From the very beginning, Wilmette was intent on incorporating sustainable strategies,” said Marc Rohde, AIA, LEED AP, Legat Architects’ project manager and director of municipal architecture. “As a result, the facility not only improves energy efficiency and reduces operational costs, but it also creates a healthier working environment, and helps preserve the environment for future generations.”

In the checklist that determines LEED rankings, the Wilmette project achieved perfect or near perfect scores in categories for water efficiency, indoor air quality, and innovative design. The project made use of recycled and regional materials and used an energy-efficient metal wall system, reducing heating and cooling loads. A white reflective roof membrane further cools the building. The north-facing glass curtain wall system fills the administration building with natural light, while keeping out heat and UV rays. Natural ventilation is taken advantage of as well as the daylighting. A wash-out bay system fits four vehicles instead of the one it previously fit. The wash bay also recycles rinse water.

Outside, efficient landscaping minimizes water use, parking lot bioswales filter oils and sediments before rainwater flows into sewers and parking spots are reserved for alternative fuel vehicles and carpooling.

Vuk Vujovic, LEED AP, Legat Architects’ director of sustainable design, says, “In today’s economy, municipalities face many complex
challenges: limited funds, increasing energy costs, and a growing public desire to be more sustainable. The LEED certification is a testimony to Wilmette’s ability to meet those challenges and provide environmental leadership.”

“We are very grateful to the community and administration for supporting our efforts to set a standard with this project,” said Donna Jakubowski, director of public works. “The LEED certification represents the whole community’s intensified commitment to energy-efficient and environmentally-sensitive facilities.”

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