Clean, green restrooms

FESS architects and engineers remodeled atrium restrooms with sustainability in mind.

FESS architects and engineers remodeled atrium restrooms with sustainability in mind.

Have you had a chance to use the shiny new restrooms on the first floor of Wilson Hall? Did you notice the modern and sleek design? Not only does the final product look good, it has features and materials that do more to reduce pollution than the restrooms it replaced.

Andrew Federowicz, an architect in FESS, designed the remodel project. Through every project’s design process, he researches the functionality, maintenance and sustainability of a material or product to help him make his choices.

The first-floor restrooms’ low-flow fixtures have the EPA WaterSense label, indicating that they meet a particular standard of water efficiency, and were made by a company that uses renewable energy. The LED lights are energy-efficient. The stall partitions contain up to 67.5 percent postconsumer recycled content. The ceiling tiles contain up to 56 percent closed-loop recycled content, are 100 percent recyclable and are USDA-certified biobased. The Dyson Airblade hand dryer puts out 74 percent less carbon relative to equivalent paper towel use.

The atrium restroom gets plenty of traffic, but sustainability is just as important for lower-visibility construction projects. Federowicz and Emil Huedem, a FESS mechanical engineer, are working to incorporate the federal principles of a high-performance and sustainable building (HPSB) at Site 37 (home of Roads and Grounds). The team assessed the impact of a new space addition, and Huedem has given Federowicz a range of rated materials to choose from that meet the DOE Guiding Principles of an HPSB. This early design process will lead to a tighter seal around the addition to prevent heat or cooling loss and to minimize energy consumption. The building will be metered and monitored to ensure optimization of the space and its energy use.

FESS architects and engineers are busy designing new facilities and remodeling older ones throughout the site. All of the contracts for construction specify sustainability clauses.

“Sustainability is very important, and we try to implement it where it makes the most sense while considering maintenance and function,” Federowicz said. “We consistently work with customers around the lab to incorporate even the smallest sustainable features to improve energy efficiency and sustainability.”