Integrated Teaming - Wayne Aspinall Project Team
The Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, a 41,000 gross square foot building located in Grand Junction, CO, underwent a modernization starting in June 2010 to transform the building into a net-zero energy building. This modernization was a response to the federal government's goal of achieving carbon-neutral buildings by 2030, creating a "green proving ground" that demonstrates how to make an existing historic building perform at net-zero energy—fifteen years ahead of schedule. The project involved the transformation of the original 1918 structure into an innovative, sustainable model and is the GSA's first net-zero-energy building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building achieved LEED Platinum, the highest level of certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Project-specific drivers of complexity included historic preservation entities that had regulatory power over the design. During the modernization, tenants remained in the building, and this complicated the project with phasing and swing-space planning. The project started in June 2010, construction began in March 2011 and ended in February 2013.
Best Practices and Lessons Learned
- Use of an interactive RFP process that begins with a flexible approach to the scope of work. The open-ended scope encourages proposals that expand ideas on building performance and a variety of approaches for how these goals can be achieved.
- Building performance verification should be included in the project scope in the very beginning. While not originally budgeted for, the project team added on a study post occupancy to study energy loads to determine where tweaks were necessary to achieve net-zero energy. The project manager stated, "We are still navigating through how to do a net-zero building. How do we use monitoring, measurement, verification, and team collaboration to get the building to perform the way we want to? I don't think any of us anticipated early on—or even after substantial completion— the level of commitment that was going to be required of the team. Other projects looking to achieve the same goals or the same high level of performing outcomes, in terms of sustainability, should be aware of this." – Aspinall project manager
- Invest time with each tenant group and in partnering sessions to align their policies and to create detailed programs that meet the high-performance goals of the overall project: "When you're looking at some of the goals that we had set up for the project, for the tenants, and for how the building is to be maintained, it was important to share that information and make sure that the tenants understood what the goals were and what their role in trying to achieve some of these goals would be."
- Increase the use of mock-ups. "Being able to engage with tenants was critical," said one team member. "We will look into doing a better job of mocking up interior aspects of the project relating to finishes. The idea behind the mock-ups is for everybody to review and understand the idea, as opposed to taking it directly out of the specs and installing it."