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Merrill Environmental Center: the Greenest Building Ever?
Environmentally-friendly materials were used throughout the building, including recycled-content materials like galvanized steel siding and roofing and reclaimed concrete, acoustic ceiling tiles, interior fabrics, and rubber flooring. The timber post and beam construction utilizes engineered scrap and new-growth FSC-certified wood and SIP panels for the roof and wall enclosures. Additionally, interior finishes included bamboo and cork flooring and reclaimed wood paneling from pickle barrels. Many of the materials were sourced locally and there were no VOC finishes or materials used at all.
When the building was finished back in 2000, it was a shining example of what green building could be — and even today the center is still leading the way in green building strategies and performance . Employees are well accustomed to the composting toilets, the automatic ventilation controls, and their creative office layout. One of the reasons the center is so highly esteemed is due to its dedication after construction to building commissioning to ensure all the systems were operating up to their designed specs — in the ensuing year, the organization worked with NREL to monitor the buildings’ performance. The center continues to compare its performance against its operating benchmark to this day.
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