U.S. EPA’s Regional Administrator honors new “green” AS-EPA office building
HONOLULU, Hawaii – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld met with the staff of American Samoa EPA and recognized their significant achievement in the construction of AS-EPA’s new “green” office building, beginning a visit that will include participating in the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meetings being held in American Samoa.
“The American Samoa EPA has done an excellent job in creating the first Platinum Level LEED government office building in the South Pacific,” said Blumenfeld. “It is an honor to learn about their work to protect the American Samoa environment and follow their example in designing more green government office spaces.”
The building when certified will be the first of its kind in the South Pacific and U.S. Territories. It is designed to meet Platinum Level Certification of the United States Green Building Council and a net zero energy performance standard.
The “Net Zero” criteria indicates that the building will produce more energy through renewable power generation than it will consume annually. Construction of the new building commenced in June 2011 and is scheduled for completion in September 2012.
Dr. Toafa Vaiaga’e, the Director of AS-EPA, orchestrated a multi-agency collaboration for funding and design of the project. U.S. EPA contributed over 45 percent of the funding for the building, with the rest of the funding coming from the Territorial Energy Office via Department of Energy ARRA funds and Territorial Office of Financial Reform through FEMA funds, and funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A design objective was to maximize the workers’ connection to nature while minimizing the building’s ecological impact. Naturally lit and ventilated work places for the staff are connected by inside and outside corridors. Environmental and energy demonstration spaces and “huddle sized” group conversation areas are included throughout the building and park-like landscape.
The building uses 60 kilowatts of photovoltaic panels, an innovative hybrid turf roof, ultra-insulated building envelope, solar shading, and optimization of a hurricane-proof window system to minimize energy consumption. In addition, the building uses environmentally preferred sustainable woods, and recycled materials for all major components. Low flow water fixtures are employed to maximize water use efficiency.
Rainwater accumulation off the roof is detained by a turf deck to mimic the speed of natural vegetation runoff. The storm water from the roof and parking areas are captured and treated through drainage enhancements and an onsite bio-retention treatment facility that improves the quality of the storm water before it leaves the site.
The building is located in walking distance of other principal agencies, the Utulei Government Campus, and an established public transportation corridor. It utilizes previously used land preventing further encroachment on undisturbed forest, and includes bike racks and pedestrian changing rooms to facilitate