Celebrating Sustainability In Public Works

Two Californian civic buildings have earned a coveted B.E.S.T. in Public Works title from the American Public Works Association, the professional association of public works leaders. The B.E.S.T. in Public Works awards recognizes public agencies for their outstanding projects and programs. Amongst the criteria are sustainability, innovation, mobility, beautification and overall creativity. The buildings were designed by LPA, a sustainable architecture company in business since 1965.

The first project was the police headquarters created for the City of Hesperia, completed in 2010. Part of a Civic Center master plan and developed in partnership with Griffin Structures, it sits across from the city hall and public library, both of which were completed in 2006. Earlier this year, the 42,000-square-foot station received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Rick D’Amato, the project’s senior designer, included overhead skylights to bring natural daylight into the internal atrium and common spaces, which is quite a feat in a maximum security building. Louvered canopies reduce the sun’s heat on south-facing windows, and lighting and occupancy sensors help reduce electricity costs. Overall, this police station performs 17.8% better than California’s stringent Title 24 building requirements. Its neighbor, the Jerry Lewis High Desert San Bernardino County Government Center, is also LEED Gold certified.

The second public building, and which was recognized by APWA as a “2011 Project of the Year,” is the newly renovated and expanded Fullerton Public Library. Re-opened in July, the expansion added 6,000 square feet to the existing 50,000-square-foot library. Amenities include a large community meeting room, kitchen, café, and book store, along with an expanded local history area, new teen services area and technology center.

Architectural improvements include seismically sound shelving; new technologically compatible furniture; expansive windows which deliver natural daylight and protect books with energy efficient, low UV glazing; and energy efficient lighting fixtures. Photovoltaic panels are set to be installed in the library’s parking lot, which, according to architect Charlie Williams, include a monitoring system where visitors can see the building’s power use, in real-time. The photovoltaic panels will create an instant connection with kids and patrons, Charlie added.

In June 2012, APWA will be hosting its fourth Annual Sustainability in Public Works Conference, a venue to explore the latest and most innovative tools, practices, and case studies in public works. The event is an opportunity for industry professionals to get access with resources and experts that can help them improve sustainability in their communities.

Image credit: LPA