BBS Architects Engineers

219 Eighth Awarded LEED Gold Certification

August 14, 2018

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This building reaffirms EMC’s commitment to sustainable design and investment in downtown Des Moines. Their employees have access to public transportation, an enormous network of bike lanes and trails, and a walkable neighborhood with shops, amenities, and residences. The design includes conservation measures which will reduce the building’s annual energy use by nearly 40% and reduce annual water usage by over 35%.

The new four-story building is designed to be contextually compatible with the existing EMC campus buildings at 717 Mulberry and 700 Walnut. The plans include below grade parking, tenant space on the north half of first floor facing Walnut Street, and EMC’s printing and mail functions located on the south half of first floor. A new skywalk concourse and atrium are included on the second level along with a new wellness facility. The third floor will include conference rooms, collaboration space and a new auditorium.  Fourth floor includes additional office space.  The penthouse at fifth level includes mechanical and electrical systems.

Even before deciding to pursue LEED Certification for the new building, EMC and the design team identified some key sustainable design strategies to be implemented in the building.

First and foremost, EMC reaffirmed their commitment to growing their presence in downtown Des Moines. In the past decade, Des Moines has seen a number of other businesses leave downtown and move their offices to the western suburbs of the metro area. EMC’s decision to expand in downtown on a previously developed urban site has a number of benefits to their employees and the greater community. The location of the new building offers employees access to public transportation, connection to an enormous network of bike lanes and trails, and a walkable neighborhood with shops, amenities, and residences nearby. By utilizing a previously developed urban site, the new EMC building does not take land away from wildlife habitats or Iowa’s vital agricultural economy.

Another key design strategy was to create a central mechanical plant to serve multiple buildings. By upgrading the heating and cooling mechanical systems of their adjacent 717 Mulberry building, EMC and the design team were able to find efficiencies (in both energy use and system performance) for both the new building and the existing building. Additionally, the creation of the central plant in the existing mechanical space of the 717 Mulberry building reduced the space required for mechanical systems in the new building.

The final example of a key sustainable design strategy for this building is the exterior envelope. EMC and the design team established that access to daylight, access to views, and occupant thermal comfort were all crucial to the success of the building. The exterior envelope features a unitized curtainwall system with triple-pane glazing and insulated spandrels. Large apertures for vision glazing allow views out into downtown and allow daylight into much of the building. Additionally, a large skylight over the skywalk concourse atrium is intended to bring daylight into that space to reduce the need for artificial lighting.

Learn More About This Project: EMC 219 Eighth Street

For More Information:

BBS Architects Engineers
Matt Cole, Architect | Partner

Design & Construction Team:
BBS Architects Engineers
Raker Rhodes Engineering
Civil Engineering Consultants
Neumann Brothers Inc.
Baker Electric
Waldinger Corporation

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