The private non-profit organization Foodshare, which provides food for families facing economic difficulties, is currently seeking Bronze certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its Bloomfield facility on 450 Woodland Ave. for the storage and distribution of food. Foodshare hired Diversified Project Management as an “owner’s rep” to provide oversight and assistance during the building process. The organization, which broke ground at the site in April 2005, opened the 30,000 square foot building in December.
Scott Pinckney, a Senior Project Manager with the company, described how representatives of the Connecticut Green Building Council met with Foodshare to introduce them to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program) rating system for building design. This led to DPM meeting with the builder and all major subcontractors associated with the project to redesign the building for the most efficiency and comfort. Pinckney said the current facility is about twice as large as the organization’s old building in Windsor, but with comparable operating costs.
Gloria McAdam, CEO and president of the organization and Foodshare Vice-president Christine O’Rourke called the building’s environment “worker friendly.” The building makes maximum use of natural light, which is also considered energy-efficient. The electrical lighting is operated in conjunction with movement sensors and timers to ensure only the required amount of use. Pinckney also said each warehouse lighting fixture functions only at 50 percent capacity when it is not in use during the day, and shuts down completely when the building is empty. He said it was different from the high density lighting normally used in warehouses.
Other energy efficiencies include the cooler and freezers, which are run by a software program called Ultrasight that McAdam and O’Rourke described as expensive but efficient. One freezer is kept at 10 degrees below zero to store ice cream while a larger one is kept exactly at zero. Pinckney said the ice cream freezer was placed inside the larger one. This insulates the ice cream freezer from the warmer temperature in the warehouse. “It’s a 10 degree differential rather than an 80 degree differential,” he said.
The materials in the building construction include water-based paint, natural wood, rugs without glues or petroleum-based products and steel containing more than 50 percent recycled materials on average. The building contains more than 15 percent recycled materials in terms of cost. McAdam and O’Rourke described recycling as a priority. For example, much of the furniture in the building is used, and was either donated to Foodshare or transferred from the old building in Windsor when the organization relocated. Pinckney said the recycled carpeting, is divided into tiles; When a segment of the rug is damaged, staff members only need to remove a 20-inch square to replace the damaged portion of carpeting. He also noted how the air conditioning units were painstakingly selected; they have a 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) rating, which is above the minimum required under federal regulations, and are free of chlorofluorocarbons. “It’s the most efficient air conditioning package unit you can purchase off the shelf”.
Pinckney also described how wetlands on the site were protected by a 10,000 square-foot underground storage and retention system with catch basins installed to control the flow of water and sediment leaving the property. He said a separator structure also separates water from sediment, oils and other solid material. He referred to also a series of chambers in the ground with three-foot storage containers to release the filtered water on a timed basis into the wetlands. The entire system is underground, and is covered by grass and native plantings.
Brian Woodman Jr. writes for The Bloomfield Journal, a weekly local newspaper published by the Imprint News Group. He has also written for The Hartford News, The New Britain Herald and the Bristol Press.
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