New training center, operations building pursues LEED Platinum

Sheet Metal Workers Local #36 in St. Louis makes good on ‘green’ initiative; 95,000-square-foot building to be fully operational by Dec. 1

ST. LOUIS“Green” has been the new buzz word for a few years now, and while, for some, the buzz has worn off, for others inspiration turned into motivation. InSt. Louis, the new business offices and training center for Sheet Metal Workers Local #36 brings a new distinction to a sheet metal workers union building – LEED Platinum.

The highest ranking given by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum states a new building has met at least 52 points – with 69 being the highest – required for platinum status. The new building met 64 points. The 95,000-square-foot building includes 56,000 square feet of workshops, offices and classrooms in the training school as well as union and benefits offices and administrative space for Local #36 and an 800-seat meeting hall.

The building will serve as the administrative offices for Local #36 as well as house its training center, which uses curriculum by the International Training Institute (ITI).

Points were gathered from areas such as sustainable site features, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design. From bike racks, designated parking for fuel efficient vehicles and furniture made from recycled materials to green power, wind turbines and photovoltaic cells, the new building goes beyond “reduce, reuse, recycle.”

Many of the highlights that make the building LEED Platinum will go largely unnoticed by members walking through the doors. A collection of rain water will be used to flush the toilets and supplement water for the cooling tower. Also, the roof of the training center offices is covered in sedum vegetation, which filters airborne particulates, reduces heating and cooling costs and acts as a natural filter for rainwater runoff, among others. Most of the building will be powered by 357 photovoltaic panels on the roof and four wind turbines, creating 75 kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity and 2.5 kwh of wind energy each, respectively. Potable water and water for HVAC is heated by solar power and three geothermal heat pump systems provide heat and air conditioning for the training center offices. A fourth geothermal heat pump system will be used in the classroom to teach future technicians how to maintain and install the emerging technology.

“It’s a living lab,” said Dan Andrews, training coordinator for Local #36. “The building itself is a training entity. I walk people through the building to show them how a LEED building is built.”

The building expects to be fully operational by Dec. 1 with a ribbon cutting and official opening ceremony tentatively scheduled after the first of the year.

“ITI is excited about this new building and the possibilities that go along with it for the future of our industry,” said James Shoulders, executive administrator of ITI. “Emerging markets are a large part of getting workers back on the job, and this building will not only be used to house innovative programs but as a teaching tool to further opportunities for workers.”

More than 15,000 apprentices are registered at training facilities in the United States and Canada. The ITI is jointly sponsored by Sheet Metal Worker’s International Association (SMWIA) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA). ITI supports apprenticeship and advanced career training for union workers in the sheet metal industry throughout the United States and Canada. Located in Alexandria, Va., ITI produces a standardized sheet metal curriculum supported by a wide variety of training materials free of charge to sheet metal apprentices and journeymen.

For more information about ITI, visit www.sheetmetal-iti.org or call 703-739-7200.

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