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Posted In: News

Rhode Island Office Park Earns LEED Gold

By on Jan. 15, 2014

JOHNSTON, R.I. — Boston-based Margulies Perruzzi Architects (MPA) is currently transforming a 153-acre office park development into a LEED Gold facility.

MPA design is focused on the 338,600-square-foot Class A office space for Hobbs Brook Management LLC, but also will makeover the entire Northwoods office park. The design is such a dramatic transformation that visitors will not realize the project is an existing building until they enter the interior, according to MPA project leaders.

“At the end of the day, it looks like a new building but it’s actually an existing building. We’ve just given it a whole new facelift — a new skin, a new roof and a new entry,” said Monica Audette, LEED AP, project designer with MPA.

When completed this fall, the building will feature a completely remodeled exterior, an updated mechanical, electrical and plumbing system, advanced data connectivity, a new cafeteria and a full-service fitness center equipped with showers and locker rooms. Three separate lobbies, which will allow for multi-tenant occupancy, consist of recycled and new lighting. A multipurpose room capable of accommodating 150 people will also be added. The building exterior envelope is a high-u value metal and glass curtain wall to bring in ample daylighting and thermal efficiency.

“By reflecting the sun you’re not getting any heat gain into the building,” Audette said. “What we’ve done is actually increase the insulation requirements, which helps with heating and cooling inside.”

The firm has a track record of designing high-performance buildings in the area as well for their current client.

“Working with MPA has always proven to be a successful formula for us,” said Donald Oldmixon, vice president of construction, real estate and leasing at Hobbs Brook Management LLC, in a statement. “Having collaborated with the MPA team on several sustainable and award-winning projects in the past, we felt confident in choosing them to lead the design of Northwoods.”

Due to their experience in designing several LEED Gold facilities, Audette said, the firm generally uses the same HVAC system, products and design strategies to acquire the green building certification. However, because the project required renovating an existing building, it created more challenges than if it had been new construction.

“When pieces and parts are being pulled off that aren’t needed, there’s always that percentage that things are not there or they’re not built according to the drawing, which is what we assume,” Audette said.

In order to keep the building’s sustainable goals at the forefront of the project, the firm has held periodic meetings with the team. The proper documentation required to prove LEED standards often requires frequent communication with the USGBC representative, Audette said.

“There’s always some back and forth in asking for additional documentation to understand how we got there,” she said.

The general contractor on the project is Dimeo Construction, and Odeh Engineers Inc. is serving as the structural engineer. Both firms are headquartered in Providence, R.I.

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