- THE MAGAZINE
The Greenlief Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC) in Hastings, Neb., has been designed and built to take advantage of all the latest developments in daylighting and energy-saving technology to illustrate the U.S. Army’s new Green Building Strategy. The recently completed military center not only provides the troops with the very best interior natural lighting, but it also helps reduce running costs. To do this in an energy-efficient manner in accordance with the U.S. Army’s new strategy, the insulation was improved by finding a way to introduce Nanogel aerogel within the glazing.
Completed last year, the 59,000-square-foot center provides assembly halls, classrooms and repair bays for the local National Guard and Army Reserve. Architect RDG Planning & Design was asked to draft a modern facility with as much natural light as possible. To achieve this, the firm designed the building to include extensive areas of glazing for the assembly, main corridors and repair centers. However, although this would let in plenty of light, it would also let in unwanted glare and heat from solar gain. Additionally, this also created the problem of effective insulation and saving energy in temperatures that range from minus 30 degrees in winter to more than 100 degrees in summer. To help solve this problem, RDG turned to the Kalwall Corporation.
At the architects’ request, Kalwall’s engineering team generated a daylighting model of the proposed building. Taking into consideration façade orientation, room height, size and use, several studies helped define the optimum positioning and size of the translucent windows and skylights to meet the Army’s daylighting objectives. Kalwall’s composite structure is designed to diffuse sunlight into “museum quality” daylighting so that shadows, glare and hotspots are eliminated.
The architects agreed that the insulating properties of the Kalwall system could be dramatically improved by introducing Nanogel insulation to help combat the extreme temperatures. Nanogel aerogel, a translucent form of silica aerogel made by Cabot Corporation, comprises 95 percent air and is used in a variety of fenestration systems. When used in the Kalwall Translucent Wall and Skyroof systems, it increases the insulation value to R-20 (U=. 05).
There have been glowing reports for the project’s results. Gene Macapinlac, the project architect explains, “We have had great feedback from both the soldiers and local community. They tell us the center is bright, open and welcoming; providing an excellent space in which to work and train. The Greenlief AFRC, we believe, represents a new standard in Training Center design and function. It supports the U.S. Army’s commitment to reducing energy consumption and to provide sustainable facilities. The decision to use Kalwall + Nanogel translucent windows has reduced their daily use of overhead lighting and promises to be a key component in reducing their year-round HVAC costs.”
The U.S. Army is well-known for its innovations in defense technology but not usually for its innovations in architecture. Using the Kalwall + Nanogel system in this facility means the troops get to enjoy all the benefits which natural daylight brings to their health, well-being and productivity. At the same time, the facility is saving money and energy and, importantly, using materials that are environmentally friendly and recyclable.
Location: Hastings, Neb.
Size: 59,000 square feet
Completion Date: 2009
Owner: U.S. Army
Additional Project Team Members:
Architect: RDG Planning & Design www.rdgusa.com
Architecture Principal: Joe Lang
Project Manager: David Streebin
Structural Engineer: Abby Goranson, Performance Engineering
Landscape Architect: Dolores Silkworth, RDG Planning & Design
Civil Engineer: Kent Cordes, Miller & Associates
MEP Engineers: Joe Hazel and Robert Hotovy, Farris Engineering
Green Products Used:
Geothermal water-source heat pump system
InterfaceFLOR carpet tiles
Kalwall insulated translucent fiberglass sandwich panels with Nanogel Aerogel
Marmoleum resilient linoleum sheet flooring
Reduced-flow faucets and water fixtures
Tankless gas-fired hot water heaters
Tectum sound absorbing panels
Temperature controls and energy management system
White TPO roof membrane with high reflectance