Musconetcong River Resource Center Achieves LEED Platinum
Musconetcong Watershed Association’s River Resource Center has earned LEED Platinum certification! Clivus Multrum is proud to have played a role in helping the MWA conserve water and reduce infrastructure needs with composting toilets! One medium sized composter and a Foam-flush toilet can accomodate 80 uses a day.
Here’s their press release:
Musconetcong Watershed Association Earns Platinum Green Building Award
ASBURY, N.J. (September 1, 2010) – Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) announced today that the River Resource Center, their landmark headquarters, has been awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of energy and environmental standards set by the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
“We are proud of the Platinum certification and grateful to our many partners and donors for helping to bring it about,” said MWA Trustee Kim Hood, who led the effort for the MWA. “The River Resource Center is the smallest building to achieve 57 points under the LEED:NC rating system. Our project is among the top 25 for total points earned in the country according to the USGBC database”, Hood said.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The LEED program encourages environmentally sound and efficient building construction.
The River Resource Center is heated and cooled by three geothermal heat pumps, the most energy efficient system available. The only power used to heat and cool the building is electricity which runs a well pump that circulates 55 degree ground water through the building heating and air conditioning system.
High efficiency halogen and LED lighting is used throughout the building. Thermal windows were installed so that 85 per cent of the work area in the building receives natural daylighting without summer heat gain.
A 12 panel solar array was installed so the building uses less than half the electrical energy of a comparable commercial building.
The building uses a spray-foam insulation in the attic roof and additional insulation on the exterior walls. It is a “bank building” – built into a sloping area so that the basement is near to the 55 degree temperature of the ground under the building.
Due to the building’s location on the banks of the Musconetcong River, the use of a standard septic system was not an option. The Board chose to use a Clivus Multrum composting toilet which consists of a large green receptacle in the basement that contains enzymes in a sawdust medium.
In addition, many of the materials used in the building renovation were made from recycled materials, and / or obtained from local sources.
The board engaged Re:Vision Architecture of Philadelphia to design the building. Initially the Board thought they could attain silver certification but on further examination of the requirements, they realized that gold was possible. Architect Mike Cronomiz of Re:Vision took the building to platinum with even more innovative solutions.
In 1999 the building that was to become the River Resource Center, along with the old Asbury Graphite Mill, were donated to the Musconetcong Watershed Association by the Riddle family. The Association’s board of trustees decided that the empty 2150 sq. ft. warehouse would serve as the organization’s headquarters. The Board then made the difficult decision to build the headquarters to LEED standards as a demonstration of the Association’s conservationist ethic.
The building lies within NJ Highlands ‘Preservation’ area which imposed strict limitations on what could be built on the site. The River Resource Center is located some 90 feet from the Musconetcong River which has recently been reclassified as a Category One water body by NJ Department of Environmental Protection. The Board worked closely with the Highlands Council to meet or exceed their regulations which are designed to protect groundwater and surface water. The trustees express their gratitude to the Warren County Freeholders who provided a grant which allowed the project to be completed on time and under budget.
Major funders and donors on the project include The Riddle Family, Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders, National Park Service, Leavens Foundation, Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Johanette Wallerstein Foundation, Richard and Monica Cotton, Victoria foundation, Conservation Resources, and contributors to the MWA River Resource Center Capital Campaign.
HOW IT ALL WORKS
Heating and Cooling. Heating and cooling is done with three geothermal heat pumps, the most energy efficient system available. The only power used to heat and cool the building is electricity which runs a well pump that circulates 55 degree ground water through the building heating and air conditioning system. The heat extracted from the water is passed through a water-to-air heat exchanger which is used for the building’s ventilation. The process is reversed to cool the building on hot days.
Insulation. The building uses a spray-foam insulation in the attic roof and additional insulation on the exterior walls. It is a “bank building” – built into a sloping area so that the basement is near to the 55 degree temperature of the ground under the building. This allows the masonry structure to act as a heat sink. Heat is stored in the mass of the building, preventing wide swings in temperature. The work space inside tends to remain at one comfortable temperature
Septic. The Clivus Multrum composting toilet functions by enzymes in a sawdust medium. This acts to ‘digest’ human waste into carbon dioxide and water vapor. A fan motor on the building roof removes vapors and odors. There is no septic system on the property. A gray water tank is used to hold water from sinks. Only chemically inert, biodegradable soaps are used in the building. This strategy allows shower and wash water to be returned to the earth without causing any ground water contamination. Because virtually no water is used in the composting toilet, the building uses 67% less water than buildings of comparable size and use.