Archive April 2011

Green Building Continues to Make Impact in 2011

McGraw Hill projects a 16 percent increase in commercial construction in 2011, and green building is also expected to continue to surge.

Kyle Bilafer, the Director of General Services for Cabarrus County, said his county is expecting to do more green building, and expects that trend to continue elsewhere.

“I think that is the way that all government is going to go,” he said. “Charlotte-Mecklenburg is already building LEED certified buildings, and if you look at what the state is mandating, that’s the direction to expect.”

North Carolina began N.C. Project Green in 1998, a program designed to encourage green building throughout the state government. The state has begun sustainable building policies, and those policies are now being implemented at the local level.

Sustainable buildings are a key part of Cabarrus County’s construction philosophy. According to Mike Downs, deputy county manager for Cabarrus County, that philosophy is geared toward keeping Cabarrus County ahead of the curve in constructing sustainable buildings.

“We want to be a leader in that regard,” he said. “If you want to push the movement toward sustainable buildings, you have to participate in the movement. We have the power to be the leader, but we also want to help to encourage the private sector to do the same.”

Bilafer said the county has several other reasons for pursuing green building as well.

“I would say our main reasons are to have less impact on the environment, better health effects on the people who will use the building, the cost savings involved, and having less of a carbon footprint,” he said.

Bilafer said the shift to green building can have an immediate impact on the environment, and said the cost benefits can make a big difference later.

“You’ll realize a lot of those savings later after the project has been completed,” he said. “But we’re committed to a sustainability effort from here on.”

Those sustainability efforts include the Cabarrus County Board of Elections building, that CM Black is expected to build this year. Justin Black, LEED AP for CM Black, said there will be many green initiatives with the project to encourage a sustainable approach to design.

The project will have several key tactics for sustainability. The project will:

  • Track the percentage of waste to be recycled and diverted from landfills.
  • Track Materials for Regional Priority, reducing fuel and trucking costs.
  • Utilize Low Volatile Organic Compound products, to reduce exposure for occupants.
  • Incorporate higher-efficiency Roof Top Units in its HVAC system and MERV 8 filters to virtually eliminate dust or other particles
  • Utilize open space and day lighting
  • Include Solar Tubes for natural sunlight, and use occupancy sensors for other lighting
  • Feature FSC Certified Wood and other features inside to promote green philosophies.

Implementing those tactics should produce major results. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, green buildings can save up to 50 % on energy usage, 40% of water usage, and 50% or more of waste.

Bilafer said that what can be done depends on the building that is being constructed, but he said he expects green building to continue for years to come.

“You never have apples to apples comparison with buildings,” he said. “Some buildings have more limitations on what kind of green building practices you can implement. But the biggest thing for us is we want to maintain a building philosophy that prevents urban sprawl while having the least amount of impact on the environment and our resources.”

CM Black Finishing College of Health Sciences Building, Other Projects

CM Black isn’t just focusing on green building with the Board of Election building in Cabarrus County however. The construction company continues work on the Levine College of Health Sciences Building at Wingate University.

That building is targeted to receive Silver LEED certification and is also on schedule and under budget. Construction began on that building in February 2010, and the building is expected to be completed later this spring. It will open for students for the fall semester in August.

That building includes more than 69,000 square feet of space and will also house the School of Pharmacy at Wingate. The project, already considered one of the top health sciences buildings in the region, has been completed on schedule by CM Black and within budget.

“We are very proud of the Levine College of Health Sciences building and we look forward to its completion,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Wingate University and are very pleased with the resulting building.”

The Cabarrus County Commissioners approved the county’s Board of Elections building construction in March. CM Black will renovate the 10,000 square foot structure. Work on the building is scheduled to begin this month, and it is scheduled to be completed this summer.

“We’re pleased to collaborate with Cabarrus County on the building, and make it both more functional and also more environmentally friendly,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “We have always had a strong relationship with the county, and are pleased to continue that relationship with this project.”

Higher Education Projects Continue Growth Statewide

While many colleges and universities are facing budget difficulties, construction continues to surge.

UNC-Asheville is renovating five dormitories and constructing a new building. The university is also building a new track, health and wellness center, and renovating two classroom buildings.

UNC Charlotte is also in the midst of major construction projects. The university is building new recreational fields off of John Kirk Drive, a new motor sports building, new residence halls (depending on enrollment growth) and more parking options on campus. The school will also have a groundbreaking for its new football stadium in April. Queens University of Charlotte has also been part of the construction boom. The university has begun a $100 million capital improvement campaign, including construction on a new science and health building later this year, and a $30 million wellness center. In addition, Pfeiffer University has added a new campus in the Research Triangle Park, and Davidson College opened a new residence hall this year.

Wingate University will open its Levine College of Health Sciences building later this year, and has already seen record freshman enrollment for the current year. Wingate University has a relationship with CM Black that spans more than a decade, and the construction company has built at least seven projects on campus.

“We understand that colleges and universities are undergoing constant change, and need state-of-the-art facilities to keep up with the rising student population and public demand for excellence,” CM Black President Emmitt Black said. “This growth isn’t just a trend that will fizzle, it’s going to be a constant for the next decade or longer. We want to help colleges and universities keep pace with that growth.”

CM Black featured in DDC Magazine, Charlotte Business Journal

CM Black’s work at Wingate University has been featured in two prominent publications.

The DDC Journal did a feature on the Levine College of Health Sciences building scheduled to be completed in the spring (see page 24-25 of the issue to see more). The Charlotte Business Journal and Charlotte Observer did a story about the completion of the university’s most recent residence hall, which was completed in December and finished 20 percent faster than buildings of similar dimensions.

CM Black was also recently featured in an article in the Concord Independent-Tribune about the company’s 60th anniversary, and its Albemarle City Hall upfit and renovation was also cited by the North Carolina Main Street Center as the Best Public Building Improvement in 2010.

That news and other information are also available on CM Black’s Facebook Page. That page has seen significant upgrades, allowing visitors more opportunities to see the company’s projects and keep updated on news. To learn more, visitwww.facebook.com/CMBlackConstruction.