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Johnson County has Midwest’s First LEED Platinum certified crime lab
Posted Date: 1/16/2014 10:30 AM
JOHNSON COUNTY, KANSAS - Johnson County is proud to announce it now has one of the very few LEED? Platinum certified criminalistics labs in the country. The United States Green Building Certification has awarded its highest certification to the Johnson County Sheriff's Office Criminalistics Laboratory, a 62,500 square foot forensics lab located at the County Government complex at 119th Street and Ridgeview Road in Olathe. Dedicated in March 2012, the facility houses nine accredited forensic analysis labs each requiring a specialized and unique environment.

Sheriff’s Office Criminalistics Lab was built adjacent to the Countywide Communications Center, which is LEED Gold certified. Both facilities share storm water management, sustainable landscape and hardscape, and construction, design and energy usage that show the County’s dedication to sustainability. The energy efficient design saves more than $10,000 a month compared to an equivalent code-compliant design.

"My goal from the beginning of this project was to build the very finest criminalistics laboratory in the country, staffed with the brightest scientists in their forensic disciplines in order to provide an unimpeachable quality of evidence examination for our law enforcement partners, the courts and the citizens of Johnson County,” says Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning. “We have accomplished those goals, as well as creating a building that is safe, environmentally responsible and aesthetically pleasing to the eye."

Architects and designers from PGAV Architects and Crime Lab Design paid specific attention to energy conservation by utilizing a hybrid air delivery approach, which maximized fresh air and minimized equipment needs and mechanical space. Other energy efficiency strategies such as day-lit office space, occupancy sensors, and a ground source heat pump plant resulted in a 48 percent energy reduction when compared to a baseline facility.

“In addition to energy conservation features, the lab was constructed with an emphasis on regionally sourced materials that exhibited a high level of recycled content,” says Chad Foster, AIA LEEDAP BD+C, Facilities Department Project Manager, Johnson County Government. “Domestic water use was greatly reduced with low and zero flow fixtures and zero irrigation landscaping. The site is sustainably developed by managing the stormwater in a system of bioswales, raingardens and a wetland detention basin.”

Sustainable construction has been a commitment of Johnson County Government since 2004 when it created its first sustainability committee. Since then, the county has constructed one other LEED Platinum and five Gold certified buildings, expanded its fleet of alternative fuel and Compressed Natural Gas vehicles, and made strides toward ambitious waste reduction goals. The county's first LEED Gold certified building, the Sunset Drive Office Building, has hosted more than 10,000 visitors who have come to learn how buildings can be designed, constructed, maintained, and operated in a way that reduces environmental impacts and economic costs. “Our focus on High performance building standards in our renovations and new construction has yielded significant energy and operating cost savings”, says Joe Waters, Director of Facilities and Bureau Chief. “The 11 major building projects completed since 2006 have saved over $2,800,000; $750,000 this year and even more in the future as the cost of energy increases”.

In addition to the LEED platinum certification, the Johnson County Criminalistics Lab has received other prestigious industry awards. They include “New Construction Award” from the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories and recognition from the AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice.