Traffic Maintenance Facility Opens with Gusto

Today we enjoyed attending the ribbon cutting ceremony for the City of Houston’s new Traffic Maintenance Facility. Located minutes from downtown the facility boasts several unique design elements and provides the Public Works & Engineering Department with much-needed warehouse and office space. The 40,000-sf facility includes 15,000 sf of office space for traffic signal operations and central dispatch, 25,000 sf of warehouse space, a shop area for manufacturing traffic signs, street marking equipment, a paint shop, and material storage. Parking is also provided for 125 fleet vehicles and 150 staff visitors.

The building embodies a theme of energy and movement and directly reflects the responsibilities of the occupants. Salvaged street sign poles create a vertical sun screen and are used for all guardrails, traffic lights and recycled traffic signs accent various spaces, wayfinding plaques represent signal colors, and a decorative yellow strip on the exterior of the building matches the color used to stripe roadways. A patio adjacent to the break room provides direct views of the downtown skyline to the east and skylights throughout the building flood the space with natural light. Another unique element is that windows are set to provide panoramic views to employees sitting at their desk. The new facility is pursuing LEED Silver.

Landmark Petroleum Engineering Building Opens

The Oil & Gas industry is the world’s largest in terms of value, and universities across the nation are updating their existing infrastructure to compete for top-tier talent. Texas Tech University has proven they are committed to attracting and retaining elite recruits by partnering with Kirksey to design and build the new Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building. The recently completed $22.8 million facility boasts progressive technology and unique teaching environments that provide students the opportunity to learn kinesthetically.

The new building includes classrooms, state-of-the-art integrated research and teaching laboratories, collaborative areas for students to interact and study, administrative offices, conference rooms, and a library. The laboratories are uniquely clustered, allowing a systems approach to instructional teaching that covers the entire spectrum of exploration and production. Additionally, a glass-walled laboratory allows students to be part of the research and instruction that is constantly occurring. The building is seeking LEED certification and matches the unique architectural style of the Texas Tech campus.

Embedded into the design is an opportunity for private industry to engage in the Petroleum Department’s programs, from a sponsorship level to actual participation in R+D activities. A simulated rock wall greets building entrants as they enter the lobby, and serves as more than an art installation. Like other components of the building, the wall is a teaching tool, representing the history of drilling from straight bore downhole strategies to horizontal perforations and fracking.

The Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering is one of the largest petroleum engineering departments in the United States. This new facility helps solidify Texas Tech as a premier destination for engineering students and provides undergraduates and faculty with an environment that encourages learning, collaboration, and innovation.

For more information please visit: http://today.ttu.edu/2014/02/petroleum-engineering-celebrates-new-research-facility/

Kirksey Harvest is Plentiful


Spring is (almost) in the air and we know just how to spend it, tending our own on-campus fruit and vegetable garden, orchard, and herb garden. Kirksey employees are committed to creating a more sustainable planet and volunteer their time to tend the garden by watering, weeding, planting, and harvesting. After a less than successful first harvest, due to troublesome topsoil, the garden is now prospering. Employees have harvested cucumbers, watermelon, beans, squash, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, and other tasty treats that we use at company-wide happy hours and other events. Our most recent harvest includes delicious kale, cauliflower, chard and greens.

Texas State Goes for the Gold

The Texas State University System, along with the Kirksey team, celebrated a significant milestone yesterday, the system’s first LEED Gold certified building. The recently completed Residence Life North Housing dormitory was awarded 43 points, surpassing the 39 needed to achieve Gold in the LEED for New Construction V2.2 rating system.

In accordance with the campus master plan guidelines, the Kirksey team designed a Spanish Colonial style building housing 612 beds in two identical wings. Of the construction materials used, more than 30 percent contain recycled content and more than 27 percent are from regional sources. In addition, 80 percent of construction waste was recycled.

Inside the building, green technology is utilized to ensure that little is wasted or produced in excess. Occupancy sensors are used in study rooms and lounges to control lighting output, low-flow showerheads reduce water use to only 1.5 gallons per minute, and all toilets are low-flush, using just 1.3 gallons per flush. Outside, rainwater and air conditioning condensation are collected in an underground cistern, reducing potable water usage for irrigation by 100 percent. Additionally, native plants were chosen for landscaping purposes, further reducing the demand for potable water.

Complementing the building’s ongoing energy efficiency and water conservation, low emitting materials were specified for use during construction, thereby reducing the volatile off-gassing chemicals found in newer projects. Air quality improvement is achieved through the use of walk-off mats at the front and rear entrances, reducing the amount of dirt tracked inside the building.

Today’s students are more environmentally aware than ever before and this housing complex provides them an interactive opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable future.

 

 

3009 Post Oak Achieves LEED Platinum

We are excited that one of the galleria’s newest commercial office buildings, located at 3009 Post Oak, is now LEED Platinum Certified. The 20-story, 302,000-sf building employs numerous sustainable building strategies that have helped transform a derelict parking lot into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban site. 3009 Post Oak is the first LEED Platinum office building in the Galleria area and one of only a handful of LEED Platinum buildings in the city.

Some key metrics include:

• 100% of the site’s irrigation is provided from rainwater stored in an underground tank
• The side of the site facing Interstate 610 was planted with dozens of native grasses intended to attract birds and butterflies
• Indoor water use was reduced by 46% over a typical existing building
• 70% of power for the project comes from renewable sources
• 87% of construction waste was recycled
• 38% of all materials used were local– both manufactured and harvested within 500 miles of Houston
• The building was designed to provide daylight access to 83% of interior spaces, and views to 99% of spaces
• The exterior site lighting was designed for zero light trespass off the property boundary and zero light projected upwards. This contributes to a dark night sky and respects the surrounding residential neighbors
• Energy savings are 26% better than code requirements
• The building includes a dashboard that monitors building and tenant energy use levels
• The high performance curtainwall uses low emitting, double pane glazing with thermally improved mullions

 


Photo courtesy of Skanska

Kirksey Represents at 2013 CATEE Conference

Kirksey’s own Nicola Springer, Kapil Upadhyaya, Colley Hodges and Alfonso Hernandez are speaking today at the 2013 CATEE (Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency) Conference. Nicola and Kapil will be presenting on “Aggressively Passive Designing with CFD” and will be discussing two Kirksey-designed naturally ventilated pools, the Fort Bend ISD Aquatic Facility and the Euless Indoor Aquatic Center. Using the pools as case studies they will analyze the viability of naturally ventilated natatoriums in Texas and present the related economic benefits.

Colley and Alfonso’s presentation is entitled “Residence Hall ROI: The Benefits of Energy Modeling for University Dormitories” and they will analyze the University of Houston’s Calhoun Lofts, Texas State University’s North Campus Housing Complex, and Stephen F. Austin University’s Freshman Residence Hall. Through these case studies they will emphasize the value of performing an energy simulation during programming to optimize the energy efficiency strategies and incur significant cost savings.

This year’s CATEE Conference is being held in San Antonio, Texas December 16-18, at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio River Walk. For more information on the conference see http://catee.tamu.edu.

GREENNC 2013 Symposium

This week our own Kapil Upadhyaya and Jody Henry spoke at the USGBC’s GREENNC 2013 Symposium on the topic of post occupancy evaluations of sports and education spaces. Their presentation, “Connecting Clo and Flow – You won’t believe what was accomplished!” detailed what a “clo” factor is and how to convince a school district to accept a passively ventilated athletic space. They presented Kirksey’s recently completed Fort Bend Aquatic Practice Facility as an example of a successful passively ventilated space. The facility uses garage doors that double as shading devices and focus the path of air through the structure. The results of the Post Occupancy Evaluation performed on the space confirm that the unique passive ventilation techniques utilized throughout the building were successful.

Kapil and Jody focused their presentation into several learning objectives that are detailed below.

Objective #1: Identify six parameters that affect human thermal comfort.

Objective #2: Discuss specific application and variation of ‘clo’ value and air flow in school environments.

Objective #3: Analyze problems associated with closed and conditioned pool buildings: ventilation, thermal distribution, condensation and energy wastage.

Objective #4: Identify Inter-dependent design solutions for aquatic facilities that avoid the above problems and their dependence on climate.

For more information on the topic of passive ventilation please contact Kapil Upadhyaya at kapilu@kirksey.com  or Jody Henry at jodyh@kirksey.com.

 

Tips for an Energy-Efficient Thanksgiving

Here at Kirksey we are all about healthy buildings, healthy people, and a healthy planet. We want to share a few tips we’ll be using to ensure we have an enjoyable, energy-efficient Thanksgiving.

Tip #1: Use the correct size pan for your stove burner. This keeps extra heat from escaping.

Tip #2: If you are hosting a large gathering this Thanksgiving use a cooler stocked with ice to hold drinks. You’ll free up space in your refrigerator and prevent cold air from escaping from frequent door openings.

Tip #3: The more freely the air moves in your oven the more efficiently it operates, so don’t cover your oven racks with foil. This saves you roasting time.

Tip #4: Every time you open the oven door while roasting your turkey you lost up to 25 degree of heat. So, use the light and a timer to check on the progress of your dinner.

Source: Alliance to Save Energy

Houston Area Safety Council Opens New Training Campus

Yesterday our design team had the privilege of attending the Grand Opening of Houston Area Safety Council’s new training campus in Pasadena, Texas. Located at the corner of Center Street and Spencer Highway at 5213 Center Street the campus represents a two-year initiative to expand safety training capabilities to meet the growing needs of the petrochemical, space and food industries in Houston and beyond.

The new state-of-the-art campus features 65,000 square feet of comfortable training space situated on 34 acres of land, with room to grow. To better serve the membership, the new campus includes a 220-seat auditorium with stadium seating, meeting spaces, computer labs with 650 workstations, multiple classrooms, distinct study areas and parking for over 1,000 vehicles.

On average the Houston Area Safety Council currently serves 1,600 people each day and training units are projected to reach over 700,000 for 2013. The new campus allows HASC to continue to meet the growing demand for safe workplaces and a quality workforce.

 

Kirksey’s Alfonso Hernandez Reflects on Minsuk Cho’s Recent Visit to Rice University

Minsuk Cho of Korean firm Mass Studies recently gave a thought-provoking lecture at Rice University and our own Alfonso Hernandez provided commentary featured on OffCite. According to Hernandez, Cho emphasized the idea of “working from seemingly binary oppositions that do not always seem binary – old vs. ephemeral, simple vs. complex, etc.” To read more about Cho’s design principles and body of work see the complete article here: http://offcite.org/2013/11/11/binary-oppositions-minsuk-cho-seoul-and-ephemerality-come-to-houston