The use of a precast concrete structural frame allowed quick completion of the building envelope on this training facility, which was designed to emphasize sustainability and to achieve LEED certification. The design reflects the owner’s commitment to new technology and training in alternative energy for photovoltaic and wind energy. Architectural precast concrete wall panels helped achieve those goals, including helping the envelope to be enclosed quickly so photovoltaic panels could be installed to power the construction site.
Designed as a living laboratory, the facility features glass-enclosed electrical and technology rooms in the main lobby with video displays monitoring building performance. The rooftop serves as an outdoor classroom, with photovoltaic arrays monitored by the apprentices. The architectural precast concrete panels allowed extensive design detailing, including an embossed random stick pattern around the perimeter of the panels. In all, 94 precast concrete panels were used on the project, with the largest measuring 11 ft × 31 ft (3.4 m × 9.4 m). They were connected to a steel-frame structure.
The project includes such sustainable features a slow-cutoff LED lighting, plug-ins for hybrid and electric vehicles, and a high percentage of recycled and regional materials. A significant portion of the native habitat was preserved.
The construction team also worked with the Save the Dunes Council to preserve a significant amount of the native habitat during construction. An arborist assisted in proper stewardship of the wooded areas, while hardwoods in the area of the building footprint were harvested, milled, and reused in the building.