Cashman Sets the Gold Standard

Story by Tony Illia | September 28, 2010

The three-story administration building takes shape. Tony Illia photo.

Cashman Equipment, Nevada's Caterpillar dealer, is setting the gold standard for green building with its new 300,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Henderson.

The company is seeking to build the state's largest Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design (LEED) Gold-certified industrial complex. LEED is a 10-year-old rating system created by the U.S. Green Building Council that grades project sustainability. Points are awarded for water conservation, energy efficiency and environmental quality, among other good things. The more points, the higher the rating, which goes from basic certification up to Silver, Gold and Platinum.

“Going green is a sound business choice. We will see a return on investment within five to six years from the energy savings,” said Mike Pack, Cashman's president and chief operating officer.

Buildings were erected on site using 460 concrete tilt wall panels. Cashman photo.

“However, sustainability is a choice Cashman would have made regardless of the economic factors, because it's simply the right thing to do.”

Cashman was established in 1931 by James “Big Jim” Cashman toprovide tractors to the Hoover Dam project. But the 77-year-old firm had long since run out of space at its 21-acre headquarters at 3101 E. Craig Road, North Las Vegas, where it has been since 1981. The company still intends to keep a satellite branch office in the north valley for its rental and service operations. Cashman employs 750 people statewide, with branch locations in Reno, Carson City, Elko, Winnemucca, and Round Mountain (near Tonopah.) Although the privately held, family-owned company declined to disclose the project cost, it bought the 53-acre property for $28.6 million, or $539,622 per acre, from the city of Henderson in 2006.

Saving Energy and Water

The new seven-building Cashman development is located along north St. Rose Parkway between Maryland Parkway and Spencer Street. Locally based Burke & Associates is the general contractor.

The complex, designed by SH Architecture of Las Vegas, has several water-saving features including drought-tolerant landscaping, low-flow sinks, waterless plumbing fixtures and eco-friendly Dyson air hand dryers. The campus is consequently expected to conserve 20 percent more water than a similar project its size through efficient irrigation, low-flow technology and retention ponds.

The campus makes the most of its building effort. Roughly 88 percent of all construction waste is being recycled, preventing 814 tons worth of debris from ending up at a landfill. Evergreen Recycling Inc., Las Vegas, is the recycling subcontractor. About 40 percent of the project's building materials come from the region. For example, nearly 150,000 tons of on-site rock was crushed, screened and reused as Type II aggregate for ground coverings and building base foundations. Locally based Las Vegas Paving Corp. and Southern Nevada Paving are the earthwork contractors.

Buildings, meanwhile, were erected on site using 460 concrete tilt-wall panels. The largest panel measures 64 feet by 25 feet and weighs 200 tons. The project ratchets its recycling effort by using concrete with three times more fly ash than normal mixes. Eight-inch-thick floor and apron concrete slabs use a synthetic fiber mix and dry shake topping to better withstand heavy equipment loading and track wear. Precision Concrete, North Las Vegas, is the concrete contractor.

“This is a unique project that makes a statement about the company's commitment to the community as well as its people,” said Roger Thomas, Burke's senior project manager. “It's an attractive, upscale industrial project that uses several sustainable components to create an environmentally conscious campus that leads by example.”

The project, for instance, has a geothermal heating/cooling system that consists of 359 4-inch-diameter wells. Water is circulated in flexible pipe in a closed loop grouted into each of the 400-foot-deep wells. The system is a key component of the project's LEED certification effort. Wells rely on Southern Nevada's constant 75- to 80-degree Fahrenheit below-ground temperature for efficient year-round heating and cooling. In winter, for example, the higher heat warms the water inside the pipe, providing a greater base temperature, while lower soil temperatures during summer help pre-cool water for an energy saving. The project uses 65 miles worth of coiled pipe.

“The project is designed for an average 43-percent savings in energy costs,” said Curt Carlson, a principal with SH Architecture. “All seven buildings are tied into the geothermal well system and distributed back out through the central plant to individual buildings. The building systems eventually pay for themselves in energy savings.”

Serpentine Footprint

The campus features a three-story, 65,000-square-foot administrative building oriented to maximize natural light and reduce heat gain. High performance glazing, skylights and reflective white surfaces carry sunlight into offices. The 65-foot-tall building uses electronic metering to automatically adjust and dim light fixtures and to raise and lower window shades as needed.

The main entrance is a dramatic clear-height space with a floating staircase, terrazzo flooring and wood paneling completely wrapped in a glass curtain wall. Floor and wall tiles use recycled glass and aggregate, lockers and toilet partitions are made from reused plastic milk cartons, and recycled polyester fabric provides upholstery and workstation paneling. Low-volatile organic compound (VOC) adhesives, sealants and paint are utilized throughout to minimize harmful emissions.

The administration building has a zigzag shape that helps separate different functions. Staff offices, conference rooms and training areas occupy one wing, while parts, storage and retail occupy another portion. The final building portion is a heavy-duty shop. The serpentine footprint creates a small courtyard visible to the employee lunchroom and retail area. Building highlights include a 35,000-square-foot warehouse that more than doubles Cashman's parts inventory. There is also a ground-level store featuring a diverse selection of Caterpillar-branded items such as golf and racing apparel, tools and gift items, and women's and children's clothing.

The campus boasts more than 1 acre of repair and service areas, all of which are bright, sunlit spaces with reflective white concrete floors, whitewashed walls and roll-up doors with windows. There are 40 large “Solatubes” up to 36 inches in diameter that concentrate natural daylight for energy-free illumination throughout; they are something like skylights on steroids. Shop spaces, meanwhile, are equipped with 1-ton to 17-ton-rated floor- and roof-mounted cranes, plus engine and transmission dynamometers that measure mechanical power. Grease, oils and other hazardous liquids are safely captured and recycled. Repair areas are cooled using ventilation socks, as opposed to swamp coolers or traditional mechanical ducts, for more even air distribution.

Additional campus components consist of a 23,000-square-foot rental and general construction building with 12 service bays; a security structure; a 32,000-square-foot power solutions building with 16 service bays; a canopied wash rack; and a central plant building. The buildings are carefully arranged on site to maximize traffic flow and minimize waste. The complex has natural daylighting to more than 90 percent of all occupied spaces – a coup achieved by using 3,500 panes of high-performance glass. Glass Wall Inc., Las Vegas, is the glazing contractor responsible for the project's 1 acre's worth of glass. Consumer recycling areas have been established throughout the new facility. And Cashman is taking the green mindset a step further with bicycle racks and a carpooling program.

The project, which broke ground in June 2007, saw 290 workers during the peak of construction activity, Thomas said. The job finished ahead of schedule, with Cashman moving into its new campus starting in November. Roughly 400 employees occupy the new campus.

“Cashman's sustainable new building isn't just another one of Nevada's newly completed construction projects,” said MaryKaye Cashman, company CEO and chairman. “It's a manifestation of this company's determination to be an enduring, progressive part of the southern Nevada community.”