Clayco Inc. crews are putting the finishing touches to a unique, environmentally friendly office, research laboratory and conferencing center project for Novus International Inc. at the Missouri Research Park (MRP) in St. Charles, MO. Novus International's new 90,000-square-foot global headquarters showcases many established and forward-thinking elements of sustainable design and construction while providing a healthy and carefully planned environment for employees.
Novus, recognized as a leader in the animal health and nutrition industry, is consolidating its headquarters and research center into a single, flagship global facility. The new structure is located in the MRP, a 200-acre research and development park (owned and managed by the University of Missouri) that has been a catalyst for development along the Highway 40/61 high-tech corridor in St. Charles County.
Novus says it chose to relocate its headquarters to the Missouri Research Park because its current research lab and employees are stationed there, and it offers a safe and attractive community for its employees and visitors.
Initial construction on the $20-million project began in August 2007, and after more than a year and six separate, carefully sequenced phases of work, the new headquarters built by St. Louis general contractor Clayco Inc. is now a reality. "This project has been much different, complex and more challenging than just building a corporate office building," says Clayco Project Manager Beth Cerrone-Kelly, LEED AP. "It is a multi-use facility with new and remodeled space constructed around an occupied research facility."
The project involved renovating Novus's existing 42,000-square-foot building and adding 48,000 square feet of new space. In addition to two floors of open office space, the new headquarters includes 10 research laboratories, a state-of-the-art employee and customer-training center, a fitness center, upscale kitchen, and a library.
The new Novus building has been designed and constructed within the environmentally focused framework of the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy And Environmental Design (LEED). LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
Novus partnered with Clayco and architectural firm Forum Studio Inc., St. Louis, in an attempt to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of certification. Only three residential homes and two commercial buildings (Alberici Corp.'s Overland headquarters and the William A. Kerr Foundation in the 21 O'Fallon Building) in St. Louis have received Platinum certification.
According to Clayco, Novus was very enthusiastic about building a new environmentally sensitive and energy-efficient global headquarters. "It is not often that you find a client that is as interested if not more in sustainable building as the contractor is," Cerrone-Kelly notes.
Paul Todd Merrill, P.E., LEED AP, Clayco's director of sustainable construction, adds, "Sustainability is inherent in all Novus' business operations around the world. We have educated each other and we have pushed each other on this project. Novus is a special client that demands to pursue this level (Platinum) of sustainability."
Novus' new headquarters highlights the company's level of commitment in developing a facility that offers a holistic point of view, one that considered the total, long-term environmental impact, from planning, design and construction to day-to-day operation. Some examples of sustainable design and construction that will promote and enhance work productivity and directly impact the facility's bottom line include: an under-floor air distribution system (a high-efficiency, low-volume, heating and cooling system); raised floor system materials salvaged from another project (reducing reliance on new, raw materials); skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the use of natural light; use of a rapidly renewable and high percentage of recycled and regional content materials throughout; a landscape design requiring zero irrigation, equating to thousands of gallons of water saved each year; and a storm water system that will greatly reduce the environmental impact of runoff to receiving streams and eventually the Missouri River.
The building's solar photovoltaic panels will provide a renewable energy source. "The solar panel field will be the largest in Missouri," points out Cerrone-Kelly. Approximately 200 panels will occupy 5,000 square feet on top of the new main headquarters roof.
Cerrone-Kelly says the facility includes low-flow water faucets, urinals, toilets, and showers. In addition, many of the interior and exterior finish materials were manufactured with rapidly renewable materials, recycled content, low-VOC applications, and certified wood products.
The exterior of the building's new section features glass, metal siding, brick, and wood.
Novus's facility was built with a high-performance envelope and energy-efficient electrical and mechanical systems that use 30 percent less energy than conventional office laboratory/buildings.
"We think the building's Class A, high-technology, sustainable, environmental design represents the new standard in the industry," says Merrill. "Lighting requires less than half a watt a square foot — that is 75 percent less than you would find in structures we were building just five years ago. With the underflow air system, we are able to run the systems at lower volumes using less energy; and a new, high efficiency chiller plant supports the mechanical system."
Merrill says the state-of-the-art HVAC system allows the users to individually control workstation environmental conditions throughout the building.
Approximately 200 workers were on site during peak construction. "We have had a good workforce here, and they really embraced this project," says Merrill. "We're very proud of the team's efforts."
The project team successfully met the challenges associated with performing new construction/remodeling, while not disrupting Novus' ongoing business operations, reports Clayco Superintendent Al 'Hammer' Morton. Clayco carefully coordinated its activities — such as overhauling the entire HVAC system in the lab area in just three weeks — to ensure no major disruption to Novus.
During construction, Clayco and other team members were committed to maintaining a clean job site and recycling the bulk of material waste generated on the project. Merrill says just over 95 percent of all generated construction waste and debris was recycled and reprocessed for another use and didn't end up in a landfill.
The project team included numerous consultants and subcontractors. Notable consultants included Alper Audi Inc., St. Louis — structural engineering; Loomis Associates, Chesterfield, MO — landscaping; Midwest Testing, Overland, MO — testing; and Stock & Associates, Chesterfield, MO — surveying and civil engineering.
Key subcontractors included Ahern Fire Protection, St. Louis; Bieg Plumbing, St. Louis; Concrete Strategies, St. Louis; Eagle Energy Inc., Maryland Heights, MO; Flooring Systems Inc., St. Louis; Horizon Glass Co., St. Louis; Icon Mechanical, Granite City, IL: Industrial Sheet Metal, St. Charles; Kaemmerlen Electric Co., St. Louis; Kehrer Bros. West, Albers, IL; Kuesel Excavating, O'Fallon, MO — grading and earthwork; LaSalle Iron Works, St. Louis; Missouri Solar Living, St. Louis; O'Neill Painting II, Wentzville, MO; Otis Elevator, St. Louis; John Smith Masonry, St. Louis; and Wies Drywall, St. Louis.
Clayco Inc. is one of the nation's largest, privately owned real estate, architecture and engineering, design/build, and construction firms. With offices in St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit, Clayco is ranked as one of the top green contractors in the country — overseeing more than 30 building projects nationwide that have received or are seeking LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Just a few years ago, approximately 30 percent of construction done by Clayco involved green design, according to Bob Clark, Clayco chairman and CEO. Now sustainable construction and design practices are part of all work done by the firm.
"Sustainable design and construction is a big deal and has tremendous momentum," says Merrill. "We know our expertise separates us from our competition."
Clayco's continued growth in sustainable developments can be credited to a practical perspective on energy efficiency and cost savings. The company, with over 50 LEED Accredited Professionals, has worked hard to educate its employees, clients and subcontractors about the possibilities of sustainable design — outlining the benefits of green construction and design and offering training to demystify the process. "You don't have to go through a lot of bizarre measures to build a LEED Platinum building," Merrill says.