Sustainable Expansion to an Active Airfield
Sustainable Expansion to an Active Airfield
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Sustainable Expansion to an Active Airfield
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The rapid growth of the Marshall Army Airfield campus at Fort Riley, near Junction City, Kansas, presented an opportunity to outfit the installation with environmentally sound development strategies focusing on energy, water and resource conservation.

Project: Marshall Army Airfield Campus at Fort Riley

Location: Junction City, Kan.

Client: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The rapid growth of the Marshall Army Airfield campus at Fort Riley, near Junction City, Kan., presented an opportunity to outfit the installation with environmentally sound development strategies focusing on energy, water and resource conservation. As part of this opportunity, Burns & McDonnell led design-build initiatives on six facilities that earned Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

The installation facilities are, in combination with eight other Fort Riley projects, the first in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District to earn the LEED Silver designation. The airfield campus was developed to cluster with existing infrastructure to maintain undisturbed vegetated areas while reducing paved surfaces such as access roads, sidewalks and parking lots. Two distinct zones organize the facilities by function. Large-scale aircraft-oriented industrial buildings are sited near the airfield flight line. Human-scale administrative facilities are built across a central road, with trees providing sight and sound buffers from flight line activities.

"A complex airfield site with industrial buildings and large expanses of pavement for aircraft maneuverability required outside-the-box application of the LEED rating system, originally developed for commercial office buildings," says Carrie Bradley, senior sustainability specialist for Burns & McDonnell. "But the same principles apply - minimize site impact, promote water conservation, improve energy efficiency, limit use of virgin materials and resources, reduce operating costs and maintain healthy, safe and productive interior environments for our service men and women.

"Using the LEED rating system provides a method for sustainable measurement between traditional and transformative design and construction practices."

In support of the U.S. Army's Sustainable Design and Development Policy, several pilot installations were recently announced in the categories of net-zero energy, water and waste to become centers of excellence for developing programs to conserve resources and eliminate waste. Fort Riley was selected as one of six net-zero water pilot installations. As part of the pilot program, current design strategies in place at the airfield, combined with future water improvement projects across the installation, will limit consumption of fresh water resources and provide equal return, in terms of water quantity and quality, back to the watershed to maintain regional water resources.

A wide range of sustainable techniques contributed to the achievement of LEED Silver. Among them:

Water: Stormwater runoff is treated through a series of vegetated swales and retained on site to maintain the natural flow of the nearby Kansas River. Low-flow plumbing fixtures reduce water use by 43 percent compared to standard fixtures, and native landscaping eliminates the need for permanent irrigation.

Open space: Each building has room to give personnel pleasant vistas and outdoor congregation areas. A physical training trail and exercise stations weave throughout the project site.

Energy: Improved thermal envelopes, high-performance glazing, lighting controls, occupancy sensors and high-efficiency chillers and boilers promote conservation.

Material selection: More than 65,000 tons of demolition debris, particularly from removal of the airfield's existing damaged runway, was crushed and stockpiled for use as base aggregate for the new parking areas and building slabs, diverting more than 98 percent of construction waste from landfills. Locally available materials were used when available, with more than 44 percent of materials coming from regional sources. Concrete masonry units, brick and precast concrete provide durable, easily maintained finishes to ensure longevity. Gypsum plants and steel fabrication mills in the region supplied materials with a lower transportation impact.

For more information, contact Pete Karnowski, 816-822-3058.

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