Architectural Firm Goes Green at Home Office

Lighting designers and engineers at Hammel, Green & Abrahamson (HGA), a Milwaukee-based architecture/engineering firm, have long designed energy-efficient buildings for clients. But when it was time to design a sustainable lighting plan for their own offices, they figured it was time to eat some of their own cooking. The result was a building that attained LEED Silver certification.

HGA's rapidly expanding Great Lakes office relocated to a larger 30,000-square-foot space in a local landmark, the Marine Terminal Building. The 85-year-old building originally served as an offloading terminal for Great Lakes cargo ships, so its interior spaces were filled with many unique architectural features. HGA identified three main objectives for the lighting of its new office space:

  • Reinforce the architecture through selected lighting effects, while embracing architectural integration;

  • Maximize energy efficiency to achieve LEED — CI Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program;

  • And maximize visual comfort to create a positive work environment for employees.

To help meet its lighting objectives, HGA used GE Lighting's wide selection of energy-efficient lamp types and a control system that integrated photocontrols, occupancy sensors and shade control. “As an architecture and engineering firm, HGA has a long history of incorporating sustainable design principles in its designs,” says Jim Vander Heiden, vice president and principal with HGA. “It made perfect sense to seek LEED certification for our own space.”

The connected load of all lighting fixtures in the space is 1.15 watts per square foot, which is 26 percent less than the requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-1999. This satisfied a LEED prerequisite and provided one point toward silver certification. The project is the first in Wisconsin to achieve certification under the LEED-Commercial Interiors (CI) program.

“The high quality of the light, from the high color rendering to the importance placed on visual comfort, has received a tremendous response,” says Jill Cody, a lighting designer and senior associate at HGA. “The new office space is a hit with employees and lighting is an important part of that.”

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