The Mutual Building – Christman Company Headquarters
- Building Name: The Mutual Building – Christman Company Headquarters
- Building Location:
- City: Lansing
- State: Michigan
- Country: USA
- Project Size (ft², m²): 57,875 square feet
- Building Type(s): Office
- Project Type: Office/Historic Rehabilitation
- Delivery Method: Construction Manager
- Total Building Costs: $8,500,000 Construction Cost
- Cost/ft2 or Cost/m2: $147 square feet
- Owner: The Christman Company
- Building Architect/Project Team: SmithGroup
- Project Contact Person: Brooke Smith, AIA (Project Manager, SmithGroup)
Motivated by its need for additional space, The Christman Company, a 114-year old construction and development firm, was faced with a unique opportunity and elected to take a fully integrated approach to the development of its new national headquarters. Having been located in the same downtown Lansing building for 80 years. Christman was firmly committed to maintaining its downtown presence and, spurning the trend of urban sprawl, elected to become an integral partner in the City's ongoing downtown revitalization. Christman soon settled on a vacant six-story building in downtown Lansing: the landmark Mutual Building, a circa 1928 Elizabethan structure that was on the National Register of Historic Places.
This landmark downtown building and brownfield site designed and built to house the Michigan Millers Mutual Fire Insurance Company Headquarters in 1928, was an irresistible candidate for a milestone green and historic preservation project. Aside from its rich past, the historic features of the building included limestone detailing on the exterior and wood trim and Pewabic tile throughout the corridors and stairways. Protecting and preserving the historical integrity soon became a fundamental element of the sustainable design strategy.
Completed in February of 2008, the renovated building contains approximately 60,000 gsf, including the addition of a conference center at the roof-top level. Given that the owner's corporate offices and support functions only required 50% of the building’s available area at the time of completion, two floors are currently being leased to other tenants, with a third floor reserved for future tenants and/or company growth. When completed, the project was awarded the first LEED Dual Platinum designation in the world by the USGBC.
Overall Project Goal/Philosophy
The Christman Company's key challenge lay in developing an outstanding building design that fulfilled the rigorous requirements of the USGBC LEED Rating System and the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation.
Shortly after acquiring the building, Christman and members of the design team embarked upon a visioning and organizational development study that led to the establishment of five guiding principles that drove the design process. The objectives were to represent the company's core values, people, energy, expertise, accomplishments, and history; encourage team collaboration; create an environment that shares successes and energy, as well as provides for mental and physical breaks; maximize comfort with individual thermal and lighting controls, ergonomic workstations and daylighting; and plan adaptively for growth, change and space needs of short-term on-site project personnel. Beyond creating a healthy and productive work environment for its employees, Christman realized that this was a major opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to integrated and sustainable design and construction, to historic preservation, and to the downtown revitalization of their home city.
The Mutual Building historic rehabilitation was performed without any worker being injured, and there were no accidents resulting in lost time or classified as recordable. This was a major accomplishment given the short duration schedule. Different trade workers were required to perform overlapping activities at the same time in the same spaces for a majority of the project. The raised access floor also created a significant number of trip and fall hazards for a majority of the project's interior construction. By diligently managing safety communications and supervision, the project team effectively eliminated the potential for anyone to be injured.
The owner's initial sustainability goals included pursuing LEED Certification Core and Shell (CS) for the entire building with the caveat that there be no appreciable increase to the cost of construction. As the project progressed, it became clear that Platinum certification was well within reach for both the Core and Shell (CS) and Commercial Interiors (CI) LEED rating systems. According to the owner's records, the cost for all sustainability initiatives added approximately 2.0% to the cost of the project, of which 70% of the added costs are attributed to the LEED certification process. In addition to the financial benefits of increased occupant comfort, health, and productivity, the owner expects to see a four-year return on their investment in green construction through the building’s increased energy efficiency.
The reuse of a historic building on a previously developed site is intrinsically resource efficient and provided the basis for the functional goal of the project. Through respect and reuse of the existing, the team was able to create an office space that was functional and sustainable. The design enabled 92% of existing walls, roof and floors to be reused. By weight, 77% of all Commercial Interior project construction and demolition waste was diverted from landfills through reclamation and a recycling program.
Recycled materials were also used extensively. By cost, recycled materials account for 20% of the Core and Shell (CS) project, and 25% for the Commercial Interior (CI) project. Additionally, regional manufactured materials make up 42% of total materials costs for the CS project and 37% of total materials costs for the CI project.
Accessibility and convenience to the downtown Lansing community was a key design goal. The selection of the historic landmark building, and rehabilitation of a Brownfield site, is considered to be a significant factor in Lansing's ongoing downtown revitalization. Moreover, the Christman Building is serving as a testament that the principles of sustainability can be forged with the rigorous standards for historic preservation to yield a significant piece of historic architecture capable of meeting the needs of a 21st century office building. Its location avoids further urban sprawl and provides convenient pedestrian access to community services thereby helping to reduce the use of fossil fuels. The project provides employees access to bike racks, showers and locker facilities to encourage building occupants to walk, run or bike to work. And, due to the availability of nearby public parking facilities, no new on-site parking was added.
At its most general level the overall design aesthetic explores the notion of how new construction will inhabit and engage a historic Core and Shell. The developed design looks to lightly touch the existing building where necessary and to avoid touching it at all where possible. It also complements the existing building by being true to the architecture of today rather than trying to mimic the past; all the while creating a holistic project. This directly relates to the Department of the Interior’s criteria for new construction within historic structures.
This project clearly demonstrates that sustainable design and construction does not have to cost more than conventional construction. For the CS project, the costs associated with achieving green goals represent 1.3% of the total budget. Two-thirds of those green costs are related to the LEED certification process. For the CI project, the costs associated with achieving green goals represent 0.70% of the total budget. Of those green costs, 95% are related to LEED certification.
Historic Preservation Goal
All of the preservation work on the building has been approved by the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service to ensure that standards protecting the National Registered building have been upheld. Restoration of historically significant building features includes the main entrance doors and plaques, the mica shade light fixtures and Pewabic wall tiles in the main hall, and the light fixtures and verdigris bronze handrail finish in the stairwell and lower level.
Bricks salvaged from the removal of the penthouse have been used to patch exterior walls. Benign products, such as citrus strippers, wet grinding, and low VOC coatings, were used to restore historic finishes, such as the walnut paneling in the executive offices on the first floor. All plaster walls has been restored using several restoration techniques.
This is the first building in the world to receive dual LEED Platinum Certification. It was accomplished while adhering to the Federal and State requirements for Historic Preservation Tax Credits.
In planning the corporate offices, the designers took advantage of large perimeter windows and were able to provide day lighting to 92% of occupied spaces and outside views to 90% of the occupants. This was key to increasing worker comfort and productivity. Through the use of high efficiency indirect lighting optimally located by calculating luminance and illuminance levels, occupancy sensors in private offices, conference rooms, toilets and stairways, combined with programmed timers in common spaces, day lighting dimming controls and individually controlled task lighting, the design for the lighting system is projected to result in approximately 27% energy savings over ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004.
A new sky lit atrium, open to the 4th and 5th office floors as well as a new 6th floor conference center, was created by enclosing what had been an open-ended light well located at the center of the U-shaped building. In addition to its use as an informal gathering and collaboration area, the new inner courtyard serves as a focal point and supports the organizations goals toward unification and collaboration. It is also a key factor to insuring that nearly all employees have access to natural daylight. The space has quickly become the favorite place to work due to the quality of day lighting and architectural character of the space.
Overview of Process
The process was one of integration of sustainable and historic preservation construction capabilities, and commitment to the environment and the community.
The company conducted a pre-design organizational development study, which included an open-ended questionnaire to elicit opinions and input for follow-up small group discussions, which were attended by the project architect. The study produced five design criteria: to represent the company’s core values, people, energy, expertise, accomplishments, and history; to encourage team collaboration internally, with branch offices and with customers in both informal and formal settings; to create an environment that shares successes and energy, and also provides for mental and physical breaks; to maximize comfort with individual thermal and lighting controls, ergonomic workstations, and daylighting; and to plan adaptively for growth, change and the space needs of short-term on-site project personnel.
Evaluation of the design within sustainability metrics led to an integrated and cost efficient implementation of the design criteria.
- The building's exterior, main stairway, main corridor and first floor offices were meticulously restored to reflect the original Elizabethan architecture.
- A sky lighted atrium housing an inner courtyard was created to provide daylight and encourage employee interaction.
- Workspaces are arranged in "quads," which provide non-disruptive visual accessibility to employee energy and creativity, and foster collaboration.
- Under floor air distribution systems (UFAD) were installed and thermal control was provided in each workspace.
Sustainable construction practices were used extensively for the building's core and shell and commercial interior. The firm also used these practices to fit out space under contract to two tenants.
- Indoor air quality was carefully managed during construction by using low-emission VOC products. Air filtration systems created a healthier construction site.
- LEED construction guidelines were tied to subcontractors' contracts.
- By weight, 77% of all CI project construction and demolition waste was diverted from the landfill through a reclamation and recycling program and many building components were reused.
- All preservation work was approved by the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service
Detailed specifications were developed for a green housekeeping program that stipulates the use of environmentally responsible and low-emission cleaning products and practices. The computerized building management system (BMS), which has several thousand control points, is used extensively for fine tuning the operation of HVAC and lighting systems to occupancy and climatic conditions. The BMS is also used to prompt maintenance activities.
Post-Occupancy Evaluation Activities
Energy usage is subject to continuous monitoring and evaluation. The data is used to fine-tune the systems, to prepare the annual energy budget, and to charge the tenants for their electrical usage. A post occupancy survey was conducted after the first six months of occupancy and the systems are being further fine tuned to ensure maximum comfort conditions for the staff.
Information and Tools
- Web-based building management system (BMS) tracks and measures electricity and gas usage, as well as atmospheric conditions inside and outside the building.
- Trane Trace 700 software was used to conduct energy modeling.
Products and Systems
Energy use is reduced by task lighting, occupancy sensors, programmed timers in common areas, daylighting for 92% of occupants, high efficiency windows and Energy Star office equipment and appliances. High efficiency HVAC systems provide individually controlled comfort conditions. The under floor air distribution system maximizes efficient, healthy ventilation. Low flow fixtures reduce water consumption by 40%.
The design reused 92% of existing walls, roof and floors, and most of the company's former office furnishings. Recycled and regionally manufactured materials, and low emission sealants, paints, carpets, and furniture were used extensively.
The interior provides outdoor views to 90% of occupants. Workspaces were designed for flexibility, adaptability, collaboration and teamwork.
Extensive recycling diverted 77% of construction debris from the landfill.
A 40% reduction in potable water and sewage use was achieved by careful selection of water efficient plumbing, such as low-flow fixtures, 0.5 gallon-per-minute automatic lavatory faucets with aerators, and dual flush valves throughout the building.
The reuse of a historic building on a previously developed site is intrinsically resource efficient. The design reused 92% of existing walls, roof and floors.
Approximately 3% of the building components were refurbished and reused, including historic door hardware, light fixtures and wood trim molding. The majority of file cabinets, office furniture and work stations were moved and reused from the former headquarters offices.
Recycled materials were used extensively. By cost, recycled materials made up 20% of the materials costs for the core and shell project, and 25% for the Christman Company commercial interior project. Regionally manufactured materials made up 37% of total materials costs for the commercial interior project. Regionally manufactured materials (10% extracted) made up 42% of total materials costs for the core and shell project, and 24% for the commercial interior project.
Recycling containers for paper at each desk and for other materials on each floor are emptied regularly and contents sent to a dedicated, central recycling room in the basement. Paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, batteries, lamps, printer cartridges and metals are all recycled.
Energy modeling projected that the building will exceed minimum energy efficiency requirements by 34%. Measures incorporated include:
- White roof and 6" of added insulation
- Restored façade windows fitted with double-glazed glass.
- Side/rear exterior windows replaced with high efficiency aluminum windows.
- HVAC systems designed and equipment selected to minimize energy use while providing individually controlled comfort conditions.
- Daylighting to 92% of occupied spaces, with additional background lighting provided by high efficiency fixtures and T-5 fluorescent lamps. All workstations have individually controlled multi-level task lighting.
- Appliances/office equipment are Energy Star rated.
- Purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates for clean wind energy to offset 70% of the building's core and shell electricity use for two years and 100% of The headquarters' electricity use for two years
Annual energy use by fuel
Electricity 576,331 MMBtu
Gas (Natural) 1,056 MMBtu
Annual Energy by end use
Heating 1, 103.1 MMBtu
Cooling 465.1 MMBtu
Fans & pumps 159.8 MMBtu
Lighting 403 MMBtu
Plug loads & equipment 708.6 MMBtu
Stand alone Base Utilities 180 MMBtu
Unspecified End Use 0.400 MMBtu
Data sources and reliability
Based on simulation? Yes
Trace 700 v6.0
Comments on data source and reliability.
The project included a commissioning agent beginning in the earliest planning stages. The building was extensively commissioned with functional checks on all HVAC and electrical systems, lighting controls and domestic water systems. The intention is to continuously commission the building for the first year and then to re-commission all systems every five years.
Measurement and Verification/Post-Occupancy Evaluation
Energy usage is subject to continuous monitoring and evaluation. The data is used to fine-tune the systems, to prepare the annual energy budget, and to charge the tenants for their electrical usage. A post occupancy survey will be conducted after the first six months of occupancy and the systems will be further fine tuned, if necessary, to ensure maximum comfort conditions for the staff and maximum energy conservation.
Indoor Environment Approach
The approach included the selection of environmentally sensitive materials and construction practices to reduce adverse effects after occupancy.
- UFAD system provides 200-300% more ventilation to the breathing zone, substantially exceeds minimum IAQ requirements.
- Indoor air quality is maintained by high efficiency air filtration system.
- All finishes met rigorous low-emission VOC standards.
- Daylighting to 92% of occupied spaces.
- Thermal, ventilation, and lighting systems controls at every work station.
A. Lessons Learned
This project proved that sustainable design and construction need not cost more than conventional practices. Commitment to the LEED approach and collaboration among the owner, project team and subcontractors was essential to success.
The historic preservation and sustainable construction goals of the project were mostly complementary.
Installation and keeping under floor air system space clean proved to be a real challenge due to the debris generated by some of the historic preservation activities, such as plaster restoration.
Public interest in this green historic preservation project continues to be high. Visitors to the facility learn about sustainable design and construction through permanent signage and guided tours by Christman staff.
Ongoing evaluation of energy use efficiency measures and tracking consumption information are used to make changes needed to achieve our goals.
This project is the first building in the world to receive dual LEED Platinum certification. It was accomplished while adhering to the rigorous requirements of the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation thereby enabling the owner to secure approximately $2.5 million in Federal and State historic tax credits.
2nd Place, Evergreen Awards
Green Building of the Year
CAM Magazine, 2008
Beyond Green High-Performance Building Award
Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC), 2008
Build Michigan Award
Associated General Contractors of Michigan, 2008
AGC Aon Build America Award
Associated General Contractors of America, 2009
Green Contractor Award
XL Insurance, 2008
The Christman Building has been featured in over 26 articles and over 23 local and national publications. Some of the most notable include:
- Eco-Structure, HANLEY WOOD, LLC, October, 2008
- Environmental Design + Construction, McGraw Hill Companies, September 26, 2008
- Crain's Detroit Business, Crain's Communications, May 27, 2008
- Architect Magazine, HANLEY WOOD, LLC, June 5, 2008
- ArchitectureWeek.com, Artiface, Inc., June 18, 2008
- Building Design + Construction, Reed Business, September 8, 2008
All Photos Courtesy of: Gene Meadows Meadows & Company
Gene Meadows, Phone:248-435-0538