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Construction Specialties given LEED award for eco-friendly environment at new location

By Staff | Apr 17, 2012

Construction Specialties received LEED Silver Certification for their new Hughesville office location. Left to right: Curt Fessler, Marketing Manager at CS; Howard Williams, General Manager at CS; Rep. Tom Marino; Bob Price, Executive Director of the Central PA Chapter of the USGBC; and Walt Reed, Mayor of Hughesville.

HUGHESVILLE – Long known for its Green Team, Construction Specialties (CS)recently received an award for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) at its newest facility located at the end of Railroad Street in Hughesville, where Waldman’s Furniture once operated.

Construction Specialties, is a leading manufacturer of high-performing architectural products and received the Practice Greenhealth’s Champion for Change Award for the last two consecutive years. The company has continued to use water and waste effectively, creating space by using resources wisely for future generations according to Howard Williams, Vice President and General Manager at CS. Williams started with the company in 1997 and grew up in Huntersville. He oversees all three locations, Muncy, Montgomery and Hughesville. “We like to recycle old buildings,” he said, “and strive to have no negative impact on our environment.

A special ceremony honoring the award was given in the new 8,748 square foot building. This was the first LEED certified project in Lycoming County. Representative Thomas Marino spoke on their behalf acknowledging a Pennsylvania Governor’s award for environmental excellence and greenhouse practices in 2003.

Although three of its 30 offices are located in the East Lycoming area with over 400 local employees, corporate headquarters are in Lebanon, New Jersey where their products are globally recognized for safety and design. Mostly used commercially, manufactured products include interior wall and door protections, entrance flooring systems, expansion joint covers, louvers, sun controls, grilles, smoke vents, and cubicle track curtains.

Williams announced a growing rate of 20 percent over the last year. “We are blessed with good people,” he said, “who have attention to detail and quality.” CS became experts in specialized categories to become LEED accredited professionals, as they have a strong record of environmental stewardship according to Rep. Marino.

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification program that was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in March 2000. It promotes the use of “green building design, construction, operation and maintenance solutions” to building owners and operators.

“We did a lot of renovations over the last three years to this building,” said Joe Neidig, one of the department managers. Over 8600 square feet of space is now being utilized in a high level of comfort where the natural work space creates a higher employee productivity rate.

Bob Price, Executive Director of the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, said that the success of the project goes to the local team of shared green values who set a perfect example for the building industry to help gain the LEED certification. “This success will be measured over time,” he said referring to lower absenteeism by providing a significant return in the health of the employees. He also mentioned the fact that East Lycoming School District which is next door to the new building, has already taken the initiative as a leadership role in the community by winning one of seven school-green ribbon awards from the Green Building Council.

One of their most popular products made at the new facility is Acrovyn, an extremely impact resistant and durable type of molding constructed from a hard plastic that is used in hospitals and schools. “It has no harmful chemicals or toxins,” said Gabriel Blasi, General Manager for Expansion Joint Cover Systems in Montgomery at CS during a tour. “In Muncy we produce door systems out of Acrovyn materials,” he said.

Oddly enough, there were no odors detected during the tour. They used VOC free paints in the building (no volatile organic compounds), and all of the furniture was refurbished. The carpet was also recycled on a floating floor. No glue was used. All adhesives used were water based and carpet tiles are PVC free. No formaldehyde was used in the insulation.

“We did our best to get all of the products within 150 miles of our facility,” said Curt Fessler, Manager of Marketing and Product Innovation. “We used all local contractors and architects. The construction work we did ourselves,” he added. They used leftover wood from previous projects rather than scrap it. All rooms have occupancy sensors with dimming lights that adjust automatically to natural sunlight. Each room is temperature controlled on an individual basis, and the efficient heating and cooling system is run on natural gas.

“The entire environmentally controlled system is run on a computer,” said Blasi. The automatic system circulates the outside air and monitors both the inside and outside air at all times. The built-in sensors are connected to an alarm system as well. Low flow fixtures were used in the plumbing system that will lead to a 30 percent decrease in water usage.

The building was originally built in 1990 and was a concrete warehouse with few windows and light fixtures. Within the last two years 56 new windows were installed using the open industrial-look office space for daylight and views. Only 4 percent total of waste materials went to the landfill, leaving 96 percent to be reused and recycled.

The Hughesville location will now serve as office space for some of the personnel transferred from the Muncy facility and manufacturing for their interior wall production lines.