Today, an unprecedented number of American organizations do their part to conserve energy and help protect the environment. The U.S. Army is no exception, as evidenced by the recently completed $20 million Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC) in New Windsor, N.Y. Comprised of a 75,000-sq-ft training facility, a 15,000-sq-ft maintenance building, and two 1,200-sq-ft storage facilities, the AFRC incorporates a host of sustainable design features that helped it attain SPiRiT Gold certification.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' SPiRiT program is the equivalent of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED initiative,” explains Kenneth Hipsky, P.E., LEED AP, vice president of mechanical engineering for Rocky Hill, Conn.-based Harrington Engineering Inc. (HEI), the engineering firm that installed the electrical, power, telecom, data, security, fire alarm, and mass notification systems.

In order to meet SPiRiT Gold standards, the training and maintenance facilities had to realize a 30% reduction in energy over a baseline ASHRAE 90.1 building. HEI accomplished this objective with the help of energy modeling software.

“We used the software to perform a room-by-room energy analysis, including lighting calculations,” says Lewis Stanio, P.E., HEI's vice president of electrical engineering. “Furthermore, we spent quite a bit of time researching what lamp sources would be best for what rooms and areas while ensuring the fixtures used the same bulb/ballast type for maintenance reasons.”

According to Stanio, HEI contacted the lighting vendor to determine what kind of ballasts it planned to use and requested that a different one be specified, if necessary. In the end, the engineering firm chose semi-indirect recessed fixtures with T8 lamps for the AFRC's interior.

“Using this fixture for the buildings' interior portions helped us accomplish our energy reduction goals,” notes Stanio.

Selecting the appropriate outdoor luminaire proved a bit more challenging. Not only did the military require that the AFRC campus meet or provide lower light levels and uniformity ratios than those recommended in the IESNA Practice Manual, but also that all exterior lighting systems designed with luminaires more than 1,000 lumens be shielded and luminaires with more than 3,500 lumens meet Full Cutoff IESNA Classification.

“We also had to prevent light from spreading over boundaries while at the same time supply adequate illumination for safety and security purposes,” adds Stanio. “In the general parking area, we used shorter lighting poles. In the vicinity where the Armed Forces' vehicles are kept, we went with a higher pole to achieve more spread. We ran the entire site on a software program that allowed us to get a point-by-point footcandle level and also let us tip the heads of the fixtures and swivel them.”

To further diminish energy usage, all interior and exterior luminaires employ lighting controllers. In addition, individual offices and classrooms feature daylight/occupancy sensors while the outside lighting system uses a combination of photocells and electronic time clocks programmed per the military's requirements.

Other sustainable elements of the AFRC include an air-cooled chiller, CO2 sensor-monitoring system, and airside energy-recovery system.

Despite a three-month delay due to an early frost, the project was completed ahead of schedule, thanks in part to HEI's prefabrication capabilities and a work crew that averaged between 40 and 50 people.

“This project was a win-win for everyone involved,” says Stanio. “The client not only got a first-class facility for training and administrative duties, but also a maintenance building that is leaps and bounds above the previous one. The community will benefit as well, because the old facility is being donated to the town.”