Wake County Correctional Facilities Go Green

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Wake County Detention Center expansion project and new Justice Center in Raleigh have both achieved LEED Silver status. County commissioners were presented with the honors in early December after their energy conservation efforts earned enough points to qualify for the distinction.

After learning of the U.S. Green Building Council’s decision, Mark Forestieri, director of facilities design and construction for Wake County, said in a statement, "Our goal is to design and construct facilities that are both effective and efficient. This achievement tells us that we have met those goals and have been able to be good environmental stewards at the same time.” He added, “The LEED certifications at Hammond [Detention Center] and the Justice Center are something Wake County and all of our residents can be proud of."

Forestieri also commented on the unusually rapid pace at which the facilities earned their respective certifications. "In most cases, LEED certification is not achieved until after a building has been operational for a year or more," Forestieri said. "For the Justice Center to achieve this status just a few months after opening is a testament to the building’s innovative design and construction."

The 11-story, 577,000-square-foot Justice Center was newly constructed in July 2013, and incorporated many regionally available building materials. The modern, neo-Gothic design utilizes natural lighting and careful orientation that has been estimated to trim energy consumption by 15 percent. Water conservation systems utilized throughout have also cut the building’s water consumption by 40 percent. The contemporary high-rise building includes 18 new courtrooms, and has been designed to expand, serving the county for the next 40 to 50 years. O’Brien Atkins of Durham, N.C., and HOK’s office in Washington, D.C., collaborated on architectural design, and Barnhill/Balfour Beatty’s Raleigh office served as general contractor for the nearly $188 million project.

A 415,000-square-foot expansion to the nearby Wake County Detention Center also earned LEED Silver certification, making the $139 million medium-security facility the first LEED-certified jail in the state. In addition to inmate housing areas, it also includes education and training spaces, a courtroom, video visitation and arraignment facilities, and an improved intake and release area. The multi-use expansion utilizes several sustainable systems, including energy-efficient heating and cooling, LED lighting and water conservation technology. These efforts resulted in a 12 percent reduction in energy consumption, while water consumption was cut by roughly six million gallons annually. The facility, which was designed by HDR Inc. of Omaha and Little Diversified Architectural Consulting of Charlotte, also allows for future expansion. Skanska USA Building located in Durham was responsible for all construction. The firm completed construction of the building in April 2012.