About four years ago, Indiana based audio and music equipment supplier Sweetwater Sound Inc. began running out of space and started looking for other options. After ruling out the ability to add to their existing facility, they decided to build something new.
The goal was to create something special for Fort Wayne and have the building resonate with the employees, almost all of whom are musicians and have an interest in the environment. The architecture firm MSKTD suggested that they pursue LEED certification, and after a visit to Herman Miller's LEED Gold facility in Holland Michigan, they were sold.
Reaching LEED Platinum turned out to make business sense. Sweetwater was comfortable with longer payback periods for energy efficient systems and didn't feel they'd thrown money away getting to the USGBC's highest level of certification. The 150,000 SF building sits on a 44-acre campus. Sustainable features include:
- 31.4% recycled materials, 44% of all materials from within 500 miles;
- 54% water savings over a similar code-compliant building;
- Skylights to reduce electrical lighting;
- Dimmers that lower light use when daylighting is good;
- Automatic sensors that turn off lights in rooms not in use;
- Low VOC materials;
- High-efficiency boilers;
- Dual-flush toilets and waterless urinals;
- Innovative ice storage system that lowers peak-use electrical load for cooling; and
- High MERV-value filters, CO2 sensors, and a comprehensive indoor air quality plan
There was a lot of excitement and praise by the public on opening day. One woman's comment on the indoor air quality illustrates how the difference is felt: "I have terrible sinuses, and I can always tell when a building is new, because the off-gassing is terrible for me … I walked in and this is the best air in a new building I've ever been in."
Photos courtesy of: MSKTD.