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Focus | Going green to save green

   
Story by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

Going green isn’t about making a climate scientist in England or a bunch of bureaucrats in Copenhagen happy. It’s about the bottom line in places like the Town of Grottoes, where the new home for Wellness Concepts, a long-term care pharmacy, is being built with green-building principles foremost in mind.

“In this business, their needs and layouts change constantly, so they need to be able to easily manipulate the spaces without reconstructing a new building. This is being designed for long-term occupancy as opposed to a few years like most retail developments would be designed. They’re designed for growth, and then they move up to the next space, and somebody takes their space. The most sustainable thing to do is stay in place, and that’s what they’re doing here. They’re designing a space where they can stay and grow over time and be here and not have to have all the embedded energy it takes to build another facility,” said Charles Hendricks, a Harrisonburg-based architect with The Gaines Group who is part of the team working on the Wellness Concepts project.

The 18,000-square-foot retail building will not only fit in nicely at the physical corner of Dogwood Avenue and 10th Street in Grottoes, but it will also fit in nicely in watershed terms due to the effort to divert roofwater to use internally in the building to the degree that the estimates now have the building not using any water from the Grottoes public-water system.

The design encompassing the roofwater diversion and the collection of water displaced by the structure and the associated parking lot also means that except in extreme rain events, say, a summer thunderstorm dumping a couple of inches of rain in a short period of time, the site won’t be contributing rainwater to the town stormwater-management system.

“We’ve gone beyond standard. Standard is that you have zero additional runoff post-development than you did pre-development,” Hendricks said. Even in the extreme rain situations, “we’re going to dramatically reduce runoff, which means less impact on flooding downstream,” Hendricks said.

The piece about building with the future in mind is a direct impact on Wellness Concepts’ bottom line. The piece about a dramatically reduced impact on the town’s stormwater system is less direct, but no less important to the Wellness Concepts’ bottom line, when you consider the burden on taxpayers including Wellness Concepts to pay for and maintain public infrastructure.

 

Earlier in the AFP
– “An inside look at what it means to go green,” Sept. 9, 2009 – http://bit.ly/7UQQNr

 


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