The Taco Innovation and Development Center, which opened in mid-2012, has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the United States Green Building Council. The 24,037-sq.-ft. facility, which houses classrooms and meeting spaces for training and educational purposes, achieved 62 points out of a total of 79 possible points for LEED Gold.
Points were awarded under the following categories: Sustainable Sites (20), Water Efficiency (4), Energy & Atmosphere (15), Materials & Resources (6), Indoor Environmental Quality (10), Innovation & Design Process (5) and Regional Priority Credits (2).
The Taco IDC, in addition to its instructional/educational focus for both Taco employees and HVAC industry professionals who visit the facility, was designed to be a showcase for energy-saving and sustainable products and systems, which are visible throughout the building for close-up viewing, hands-on learning and teaching.
Products and systems installed in the IDC include chilled beams (active and passive), radiant ceiling heating and cooling, fan coils, water-source heat pumps, perimeter radiation, radiant floor heating, solar hot water, snow melt and geothermal.
The mechanical design goal was to optimize hydronic-side design and remove/add as much heat as possible using chilled beams, flat-panel radiation along the IDC’s walls and radiant floor systems. All equipment and systems are controlled by Taco’s proprietary iWorx Web-based building management product line and monitored by a host of sensors and meters throughout the building.
Taco achieved 15 out of a possible 20 points total in the Energy & Atmosphere category and 8 out of 11 possible points for optimization of energy performance. In fact, the IDC’s operation performance since its opening has exceeded expectations.
The performance of the IDC mechanical and electrical systems are monitored continuously via dedicated measurement and verification systems. Since the building was completed, several new measurement stations were added including hydronic Btu metering systems, electrical submeters and building automation monitoring systems. These measurement systems have allowed the company to monitor energy consumption in real time and compare those actual energy measurements against the initial energy model. All indications are that the building is meeting or exceeding the projected energy savings.
For example, during the period from Sept. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2014, the building consumed 126,290 KBtu from the water heating system, or approximately 150,345 KBtu of natural gas at 84% boiler efficiency. Taco estimates that this is approximately 75% of the annual gas consumption for heating Btu. Natural gas consumption prorated for the entire year is approximately 200,460 KBtu. The energy model predicted that the building would consume 296,900 KBtu annually. The actual consumption is estimated at 67.5% of the projected consumption. These numbers will be refined as more data is collected.
In considering its LEED application, Taco’s objective was always to implement a system approach to achieving energy efficiency rather than chase individual LEED points. The company wanted to design the most efficient building possible and to see how the design translated into LEED points.
At the time of construction, project manager Chris Integlia, Taco’s executive vice president, said: “Our approach to this project has always been to have LEED certification as a public validation of the efforts we’ve put into the project, and as a confirmation that our products and technologies will help not only Taco but others in our industry achieve highly sustainable green buildings. We’re going to do the right things by Taco, and we’ll see how far we can go with that in terms of the LEED scorecard. We do know, however, that the products and technologies we intend to put into the building will achieve a very high level of certification.”
The IDC has provided training and education to Taco’s workforce as well as more than 3,000 visitors attending more than 50 courses for both residential and commercial training.
It is the second LEED-certified project for Taco. In 2009, the company received LEED certification for a new 60,000-sq.-ft. warehouse-distribution center addition to its facility.