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Morrissey Engineering Earns Quadruple LEED Platinum Certification, Becomes One of Only Eight Across the Nation

by: Jessica Hoover
From left to right: George Morrissey, MEI Principal; Sarah Doyle, MEI Engineer; and Sarah Gudeman, MEI Engineer and Partner.
From left to right: George Morrissey, MEI Principal; Sarah Doyle, MEI Engineer; and Sarah Gudeman, MEI Engineer and Partner.
The headquarters of Morrissey Engineering, the 4940 Building, has become one of only eight buildings across the nation to earn quadruple LEED Platinum certification. With its latest recertification, the 4940 Building became the first and only to certify at the Platinum level four times, not just in Nebraska, but across the entire U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) West North Central region.

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.”

Sustainably-Focused from the Beginning
The 4940 Building has maintained its certification for 13 years, after becoming the first building in Nebraska to earn LEED Platinum certification in 2009. Morrissey Engineering is both the owner and occupant of the building, as well as the provider of mechanical, electrical, and technological design services.

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.

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“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, Indoor Environment for Employees
The 4940 Building also features green amenities for its employees such as a man-made pond with a fountain; skylights and eight-foot-tall windows providing direct outdoor views; recycling stations; bicycle storage; showers with changing rooms; preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles; and carpools.

“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.”

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