The United Nations defines a sustainable society as one that "meets the needs of the present generation without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Sustainability has many definitions but the basic principles and concepts remain constant: balancing a growing economy, protection for the environment, and social responsibility, so they together lead to an improved quality of life for ourselves and future generations.
Sustainability in City Facilities
Lighting, mechanical systems and building envelope all were designed to reduce energy use, provide ongoing operational cost savings, and achieve rebates available from Xcel Energy.
A geothermal system is used for heating and cooling the building. The system uses underground pipe, installed in wells 300 feet deep, to transfer the earth’s energy, which averages about 48 degrees in temperature, to the building. The building is heated or cooled using high efficiency ground source heat pumps, reducing energy use.
Additional energy-saving features include: high performance, energy efficient mechanical and electrical systems; energy efficient lighting; and sensors to shut off lights automatically when offices are not occupied. An energy management system allows the city to control the building in the most efficient manner, depending on occupancy.
- A “green roof” is located over a conference room on the south side of the building. The plants in this vegetated roof absorb rain water and reduce runoff from the roof.
- Porous paver parking stalls in a section of the east parking lot allow stormwater to soak through to the ground instead of running off the parking lot into City Hall’s wetland.
- A rain garden is located in the curb island between the porous pavers to infiltrate stormwater that may not be absorbed over the pavers.
- A stormwater treatment pond east of City Hall improves runoff that empties into the adjacent wetland.
- Two reinforced turf products, “Grasspave” and “Advanced Turf,” were used alongside the walking paths adjacent to City Hall. The products can withstand the weight of a fire truck without damage, providing fire lane access to City Hall. As a result, the walking paths can be narrower, reducing the amount of impervious surface.
HealthEast Sports Center
Most of the sustainable features at HealthEast Sports Center (HSC) are obvious to visitors. However, behind the walls of the facility operate a variety of energy-saving measures that are expected to reduce the facility’s energy costs by thousands of dollars each year.
During the initial planning phase of the HSC Expansion Project, the city participated in Xcel Energy’s Energy Design Assistance (EDA) program, a free service for commercial projects that provides a comprehensive planning approach to energy and cost savings. The HSC project received $200,000 in rebates from Xcel Energy for the energy efficient design of the project.
Combined, the energy upgrades are expected to save $170,000 in annual costs compared to regular code requirements, and the system is expected to pay for itself within approximately eight years. Some energy and cost-saving measures implemented at HSC include:
- Wall and roof insulation
- Low emissivity glass
- Stepped daylighting
- Light occupancy sensors/dual level switching
- LED lighting in the field house
- Geothermal heating and cooling
- Premium efficiency motors
- Heat recovery system
- Solar thermal system for water heating
The solar thermal array is easily visible high on the south-facing wall of the building. The system complements the geothermal system by warming the water in the system using solar energy. Woodbury received an $18,669 rebate from the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, covering 25 percent of the cost of the array.
The outdoor splash pad includes special features that encourage water conservation. Each splash pad sprays water for approximately four minutes before automatically shutting off. This feature helps reduce water use, particularly when it’s not in use. Users can reactivate the system by simply touching a button located near each splash pad.
In addition, excess water from the splash pad drains to a nearby stormwater pond, where it is reused to irrigate the outdoor fields at HSC.
Public Safety Building
- A 2,000-square-foot green roof
- Solar panels on the roof to generate a portion of the building's electricity
- Geothermal heating and cooling
- Carpet and furnishings with recycled content
- Low flow plumbing fixtures
- Energy efficient lighting