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03.07.19

Johnson County building certified LEED Gold

The Johnson County Ambulance Services and Medical Examiner building, which opened in 2017, has been certified LEED Gold. As a public building in a transitional urban area, the goal for the new facility was to create a highly functional, sustainable, and pragmatic building that set an example of making sustainability an initiative in the community. Both Iowa City and Johnson County were advocates for a sustainable design, which resulted in a building that operates nearly 70 percent more efficiently than required by code and is LEED Gold certified.

Biophilia played an important role in the design to impact productivity, mood, health, and wellbeing. Employee spaces are organized around the exterior for ample access to daylight. The chartreuse color of the stair was inspired by the vibrant color of the sedums on the green roof creating a strong visual connection between the interior and exterior. The interior reclaimed wood as well locally sourced and recycled materials and the exterior wood panel skin provide warmth and reinforce the intentional sustainable design solutions.

Technical spaces such as the medical examiner’s room posed a particular challenge because the extra energy used for ventilation worked against energy conservation. A solar array on the green roof helps balance that consumption.

There are four levels of LEED certification. The number of points a project earns determines the level of LEED certification that the project will receive. There are specific prerequisites projects must satisfy and a variety of credits projects can pursue to earn points. The number of points the project earns determines its level of LEED certification. Gold, the second highest certification, requires 60 to 79 points.