A LEED Platinum success story of ambitious thermal values and energy savings

7 June 2022 Kingspan Group
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JRA didn’t just build a beautiful office space and manufacturing facility, they delivered the best marketing tool one could imagine.

Eric Wang, CEO, Ecofibre

Realising the ambitious requirement for the new USA Headquarters of Australian-based company Ecofibre in Kentucky was a challenge relished by Louisville based JRA Architects. The brief called for innovative thinking and the opportunity to create the USA’s first LEED Platinum (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) warehouse and distribution centre. But that was just the start for this 50,000 sq. ft project. It also needed to be a marketing showcase for Ecofibre’s visiting customers.
 
Ecofibre needed the facility to be up and running in just eleven months - half the normal project timescale. An additional complexity was achieving this goal whilst absorbing the 15-hour time difference between the Kentucky operation and Ecofibre’s head office in Brisbane. Marty Merkel, Associate at JRA and LEED specialist explains how:

It was key for project management to manage different client user groups with us throughout the day, given the large time difference. We had a very committed, enthusiastic client, determined to meet the highest standards of sustainability, which required flawless co-ordination at a fast pace.
Three schemes were developed and presented by the JRA team. The solution arranged along a ‘connecting spine’ quickly emerged and became the key organising principle of the project. Marty Merkel again: ‘At the very first meeting we presented three different sketch ideas. Ecofibre CEO (Eric Wang) took one look and said that’s it, that makes perfect sense. The office pavilion to front, the spine and the warehouse at the rear’.

This decisive move both allowed the project to proceed at pace, whilst developing a unique marketing tool for the client. A transparent gallery exhibits Ecofibre’s range of highly sustainable hemp products including medicinal, nutritional, and high-performance textiles. The ‘spine’ elevated the project design to another level - a distinctive, inspiring workplace that clearly instils a sense of pride and belonging in its occupants.
 
To meet Ecofibre’s core philosophy, adoption of a LEED Platinum solution was essential from the outset. JRA immediately mobilised its expert team in making key decisions. This included orientation to maximise daylighting and minimise heat losses through careful envelope design.
 
To achieve ambitious thermal values and energy savings, very early in the process the decision was made to use Kingspan's Quadcore® insulated metal panels.
Key to the success of the project was the use of BIM from the outset to optimise information coordination, speed of design and construction, as well as energy modeling.

From the hemp garden to the product showcase, transparent manufacturing clean rooms and the spacious warehousing, the entire campus was shaped for customer tours.

 
Location: Georgetown, Kentucky, USA
Architect: JRA Architects
Photography: JRA Architects
Kingspan Products: KS Shadowline and KarrierPanel with Quadcore® technology
 

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