The Savings of Building Green

The Merrill Center is an ENERGY STAR "Top Performance" building with a rating of 78  for energy efficiency. This rating is 56 percent better than the national average for similar office buildings. Based on the center's average energy use, this equates to an annual savings of almost $100,000.

In the summer, the trellis blocks direct sunlight while the PV panels act as sunshades. Photo by Nikki Davis.
The Merrill Center's unique architecture reduces sun exposure in the hot summer months.
Photo by Nikki Davis.
  • Overall, the center uses 56 percent less energy for a savings of $100,000.
  • The center's total four year average water savings equal 2 million gallons not processed by sewage treatment plants, thus saving nearly $8,000.
  • Energy use is 40 percent less than a typical office building and 60 percent less than older buildings.
  • Heating and cooling systems do not run about 33 percent of the year because the center uses the sun's free heat and open windows for natural breezes.
  • Solar hot water systems provide annual savings of $500.
  • Water consumption is 90 percent less than a conventional building, and that includes the center's onsite showers and laundry facilities. Average daily water use is 90 gallons - more than 2/3 of which is rainwater; without water-saving technology, normal daily use would be about 1,500 gallons.
  • Composting toilets save approximately $2,100 per year on water and sewage rates compared to an office of 100 people with conventional toilets. At $25,000 to install, composting toilets have a simple payback of less than ten years, and have many advantages that go beyond mere dollars and cents.
  • Smart parking design reduces harmful runoff from surfaces by placing parking under the building and using gravel surfacing for parking outside the building. Gravel slows runoff and allows particulates to drop off. Also, its light color reduces heat retention in the summer.
  • By disturbing the land as little as possible during construction, the center has restored and incorporated native habitat for wetlands and wildlife on surrounding land, and teamed up with the local community to form the local land trust that protects the entire property.
  • The center has less impermeable surface now than when CBF bought the property.
  • CBF cut down only four trees to build the facility, and has planted hundreds of trees, shrubs, and new grasses.
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