Serving the Entire City
Salt Lake City’s new Public Safety Building is a gleaming 170,000 square foot replacement for a 50-year-old facility that had become too expensive to repair and maintain. The old building had also become cramped for the nearly 600 employees that shared poorly heated, windowless offices originally meant to house only half that many workers.
By contrast, the new building includes more than enough office space, plus a four-story lobby and atrium, a museum, classrooms, and a community center all wrapped around an outdoor public plaza that provides open space for public gatherings, city festivals, bicycle paths, pedestrian thoroughfares, and other comfortable gathering and resting spots for public use.
Inside, the new Public Safety Building houses police and fire departments as well as the regional 911 response center and even the city’s primary data center – allowing for unprecedented communication and cooperation in case of emergencies.
It’s What’s Inside that Counts
Underneath this shiny glass facade is a structure designed to meet rigorous seismic standards – allowing all building systems to remain functional after a magnitude 7.5 earthquake – and cutting-edge energy conservation practices.
Modern building designs often strive for energy-efficiency to minimize both operating costs and dependence on natural resources. For the Salt Lake Public Safety Building, energy-efficiency takes on an even more urgent priority as a natural disaster or terrorist attack may cripple nearby energy electrical grids and hinder emergency efforts of agencies that are not prepared.
To promote energy independence, the project’s designers at GSBS Architects implemented a number of ‘net-zero’ features including advanced natural lighting plans, a solar water-heating system, occupancy sensors that automatically turn off lights, computers and other non-essential equipment, and a variety of photovoltaic arrays on the roof to generate electricity from the sun.
During early discussions about creating a ‘net-zero’ facility, the building’s steering committee met with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado to learn what they could about energy-efficiency and sustainable elements like daylighting, evaporative cooling, wind energy, and thermal mass.
For the NREL project, Thermomass insulated panels were selected for their high performance and aesthetic versatility. Those benefits again came into play for the Salt Lake Public Safety Building where precast concrete panels, insulated with Thermomass System NC and fabricated by Hanson Structural Precast, provide excellent energy-efficiency in addition to effective blast resistance in the case of an explosion or attack.
Through its selection as the premier concrete insulation supplier for prominent ‘net-zero’ projects like NREL and the Salt Lake Public Safety Building, Thermomass has solidified its role as the industry leader in high performance, energy-efficient building envelopes, and it looks forward to helping usher in a new age of modern, environmentally responsive construction.