Waite Park, MN 56387
The Stearns County Westside Service Center is a 50,000-square-foot facility that houses a license center, public health offices, community corrections offices, and a multi-use conference center. Officials from Stearns County were very interested in energy efficiency and sustainability and wanted the new service center to exemplify these goals. GLT Architects (GLTA) worked closely with the county to design a building that will show residents that sustainable design can also be cost-effective and efficient. The estimated energy use data were entered into EPA's Target Finder tool, and the service center received a rating of 100 (out of 100).
The local power company offers an assistance program to reduce energy consumption by giving financial incentives for energy conservation. To take advantage of these incentives, GLTA designed the service center with many energy-efficient design features. An all-electric, geothermal heat pump system is the primary heating and cooling system for the building. By using a less expensive installation method, the projected payback for the geothermal system has been reduced to less than three years. A heat recovery system will recover heat from exhausted air to condition incoming make-up air. The building shell also has a roof system with an R value of 40 and walls with an R value of 20 to efficiently maintain desired interior temperatures.
Daylighting is another primary strategy used for energy savings. Open office workstations are planned along the exterior walls where light shelves will allow natural light to reach the building interior. Enclosed offices are positioned in the center portion of the plan and use interior glazing to make use of the shared natural light. Lighting systems will be tied to sensors to dim or turn off the artificial lighting when not needed. High-efficiency indirect and direct fluorescent lighting will be used throughout the building.