Joined by architects and engineers from USGBC Nebraska Flatwater and other local green building professionals, Morrissey Engineering MEI Principal George Morrissey was recently presented with a plaque for its fourth LEED Platinum certification.
“Performance matters. The health of the occupant matters. The life cycle of the building matters,” said USGBC Nebraska Flatwater Advisory Board Member Brian Akert. “The difference we can make within the existing buildings that we own and operate every day is massive, and as always, we are lucky to have a such an impressive leader in our state. Morrissey leads by example at every turn.”
Located in the Roanoke Business Park, the 4940 Building is a 15,580-square-foot, single-story office building with a mechanical mezzanine/storage area. The building has achieved significant reductions in electricity, water, and emissions using sustainable design strategies.
The sustainable design strategies include on-site photovoltaics (PV); a ground-source geothermal heat pump system; rainwater harvesting for irrigation; low-flow plumbing fixtures; daylighting; a digital lighting control system; reflective roofing and parking lot paving materials; recycled materials; and real-time energy consumption monitoring.
“At the time, we were doing all of the cutting-edge things that were available,” said Sarah Gudeman, Mechanical Engineer and Director of Sustainability at Morrissey Engineering. “We are an all-electric building. A lot of people in the industry now are talking about electrification, and we did that in 2009. … We have continued to upgrade things, so just recently we put in a new heat pump water heater. We have solar panels on the roof, about 27 kilowatts total which were installed in two phases. We went on to install another 21 or 22 of PV because the first part we got from a state energy grant, and it was so successful that we just put more on.”
“Healthy buildings and the impact that indoor environments and spaces can have on people is a huge focus in the industry now,” Gudeman said. “It’s certainly something that I’m interested in and have been for a long time, but I think a lot of people — in the wake of COVID — were more interested in air quality. So the building provides a really excellent indoor space to be in, in terms of air quality, thermal comfort, and daylighting.”
Since its initial certification in 2009, the Morrissey Engineering team has continued to pursue each evolution in the LEED rating system for existing buildings. The 4940 Building has also continuously earned Energy Star certification throughout its lifetime.
“I think third-party certification is important because it shows that people and projects are willing and able to stand up to a higher level of scrutiny,” Gudeman said. “Getting an actual third-party certification shows that you know that you can stand up to a higher level and perform at that higher level. When we think about buildings and performance, that ongoing performance is hugely important.”