Cincinnati opens world's first LEED platinum, net zero police station

Cincinnati opens world's first LEED platinum, net zero police station

Photo courtesy of Dish Design

Cincinnati has opened a new police station that is believed to be the world’s first LEED platinum and net zero energy facility of its kind, according to the designer.

Police District 3’s new headquarters replaces a facility at a different site that had been in use since 1907 and, because of its outdated and deteriorating structure, had posted a host of challenges to the force, including workers having to be split between offices.

The new solar-powered building is expected to consume less than 50 percent of the energy used by traditionally designed facilities of the same size. The Messer Construction and emersion DESIGN team created the facility to be high performing without jeopardizing police functionality.

That follows the city’s dictum of sustainability and green living, Joel Koopman, facilities manager for the city of Cincinnati, told Government Technology.

Designing the building to be a net-zero energy facility, which means it consumes less energy than it generates, cost the city $900,000 of the facility’s $16 million budget, Koopman said.

“It’s not too hard to see it paying for itself over the 50 to 100 years we use the building,” Koopman said, adding that a similar police district of the same size spends about $140,000 annually on gas and electric bills. “If we hit net-zero here, that’s five years.”

The station built in Cincinnati's Westwood neighborhood is about 39,000 square feet and will house about 200 employees. It's equipped with 40 geothermal wells, solar panels that can generate 330 kilowatts of energy, LED light fixtures and 29 energy zones that allow for unused systems to be turned off. 

The white membrane roof actually increases the energy consumption due to the building's location. However, it helps with the efficiency of the solar panels and reduces the heat island effect, especially considering the large asphalt parking

areas nearby.

The landscaping does not require permanent irrigation systems. Plants were selected for drought tolerance and the specific soil conditions and microclimates found on site.

The reduction of water use in flush (toilets and urinals) fixtures is 23.07 percent and flow (sinks and showers) fixtures is 44.75 percent for a combined consumption of 30.36 percent below the baseline water use.

The project has installed outdoor air delivery monitoring to ensure a healthy working environment by providing enough fresh air to the police officers and staff.

emersion DESIGN specified low-emitting sealants, adhesives, paints, coatings, flooring systems and composite wood. In this way, offgassing of VOCs will be kept to a minimum, and the city can move its personnel into the space more quickly.

The design team intentionally planned for a visually and spatially open police station. While this provides a sense of transparency and invitation, not only between internal departments but also between the police and the community they serve, it also allows the users to reduce eye strain and stress. The number of windows and size of glazing allows officers to easily survey the grounds while providing their eyes a break from focusing at computer screens.

Almost all the work stations have views to the exterior. In fact, in several places, one can look all the way through the building.


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Companies: U.S. Green Building Council

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