The Missouri Gateway Chapter of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) recently recognized the Power House, Renovation/Restoration with a Growing Green Award in the Restoration category—adding another win to the 20+ national and regional honors the Power House has earned since opening its doors in 2008. The Growing Green program recognizes the individuals, groups and organizations who are actively transforming the built environment while sharing their knowledge of green building and sustainable practices.
In December 2006, Cannon Design’s St. Louis office began looking for a new home. After a two-year search, Cannon Design purchased the Power House, a landmark 19,000 sf building in downtown St. Louis. Constructed in 1928 to generate steam heat for nearby municipal buildings, the Power House was easily recognized by its tall, arched windows on two street facades and fine terra cotta detailing, as well as by the trees growing on the roof and other signs of long-term abandonment. Cannon Design, with many options, chose to reaffirm its commitment to downtown by revitalizing a corner of the city that had been vacant for over two decades.
Design principal for the project, David Polzin, explains the reasons for choosing to restore and renovate an existing structure rather than constructing a high-performance building from the ground up. “Obviously, it was an opportunity to reclaim a landmark structure in that city,” Polzin says. “But beyond that, the reuse of an existing structure is about the most sustainable thing one can do. It was also an opportunity to stay with the city’s central business district, which would probably not have been achievable had we decided upon building new construction.”
The building achieved LEED Gold status from the US Green Building Council in 2009 and Cannon Design is currently pursuing a Gold rating under LEED EBOM (Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance)—a process that will allow the firm to further refine the systems, policies and procedures it has already established to maximize the responsible operation of its historic sustainable renovation.
“Committing ourselves to the conservation of resources, protection of the environment and leadership in sustainable design,” is one of the guiding principles of Cannon Design’s Vision statement—and the Power House is an excellent validation of that commitment. Special props to Carl Karlen, Katie Rietz and Lori Epler-Hout, who put this submission together.
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