Green Mountain Power announced Wednesday that its Energy Innovation Center (EIC) in downtown Rutland has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the US Green Building Council, recognizing the building as a leading example of building for environmental and health performance.
“Building operations are nearly 40 percent of the solution to the global climate change challenge,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. “While climate change is a global problem, innovative companies like Green Mountain Power are addressing it through local solutions.”
Completed in November, the Energy Innovation Center is a model of innovation, with air-source heat pumps, two solar arrays, small-scale wind, high-efficiency LED lighting, light tubes, triple-pane windows, efficient skylights and motion sensors to reduce artificial lighting needs. The building includes direct current to power lights, super-dense insulation to reduce heating and cooling needs, recycled rubber flooring and low-flow water fixtures. At the same time the restoration preserved historic features including a stunning metal ceiling, stainless steel window frames and a terra cotta art deco facade.
The U.S. Green Building Council, which administers the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building program (LEED), notified GMP of the honor Tuesday.
“We are so pleased that the EIC achieved LEED Gold status,” President and CEO Mary Powell said. “As staff in the EIC pilot and test innovative technologies and programs on customers’ behalf, the building itself demonstrates the incredible value of efficiency, renewables and other emerging technologies.”
For example, the EIC’s heat pump system, which replaced traditional oil heat as the primary source during the restoration of the former Eastman Building, provided virtually all of the heat this past winter – despite often bitter cold temperatures.
“We used less than 40 gallons of oil all winter,” Vice President Steve Costello said. “The cold-climate heat pumps exceeded our expectations, keeping the building warm and comfortable throughout the winter, dramatically reducing heating emissions, and demonstrating the incredible value this technology can provide.”
The facility, designed by NBF Architects and built by Russell Construction Services, houses not only GMP employees, but workers from Efficiency Vermont and Neighborworks of Western Vermont. The three are currently collaborating on a pilot program to retrofit 100 Rutland County homes with the latest in efficiency, heat pumps, energy controls and generation, with on-bill financing available for the improvements.