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MADISON, WI-One Erdman Pl. recently received the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star designation. The accolade is given to properties that combine a high level of energy efficiency with environmental protection. The Energy Star status comes on the heels of the building receiving Gold LEED certification. It was the first multi-tenant building in Wisconsin to receive LEED recognition.

The property was built for Erdman, a Cogdell Spencer company, by Gialamas Co. with construction beginning in September 2006 and completing in November 2008. “Early on we recognized the importance for achieving a certifiably sustainable goal for our headquarters. LEED and then Energy Star were chosen as the two benchmarking tools that fit the office building product,” Beth Churchill, director of sustainability for Erdman, tells GlobeSt.com.

Erdman, which focuses on the design and construction of hospitals and medical office buildings, was experiencing a growth spurt in 2006 when and was looking for a facility to house nearly 250 employees, according to reports at the time.

From that need the four-story, 130,000-square-foot facility was born. Erdman now occupies 95,000 square feet as a tenant. It is now owned and managed by Gialamas Co.

But just building a headquarters location was not enough. “Energy management was a high priority goal for the project. Understanding how our building works is key for us in delivering high performance facilities that can be maintained as they were designed and engineered,” Churchill says.

Some of the buildings green attributes include; a solar reflective roof membrane, foam insulated wall assembly, automated solar blinds, lighting sensors, high efficient condensing boilers using low temperature hot water for space heating, energy recovery used to capture and reuse 80% of the energy from the building exhaust air and traction elevators.

The total construction cost was $21 million, a higher price than would have been needed if the building was not going to receive environmental recognition. Early on in the project the costs and benefits were carefully analyzed.

Churchill says, for example, “A lot of the fit and finishes were chosen for their environmentally responsible sourcing (bamboo, cork) and their minimized impact to the indoor environmental quality for the employees (low to no volatile organic compounds in the paints, sealants, glues and epoxies and urea-formaldehyde solid core doors). Some of these items came at a first cost premium. The benefits are many including better operating costs and healthier occupants.”

As a result of the project, Churchill says Gialamas now implements a similar green housekeeping program in all its properties. Similarly, Erdman was able to “test drive” the green products in order to better serve its healthcare owners.

“By having the freedom to test new technologies, we have been able to serve our market better in these areas,” Churchill tells GlobeSt.com. “For example we installed a rainwater harvesting system that collects roof water and directly feeds the irrigation system. We chose to study this technology in order to better engineer this system in projects located in more arid climates.”

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