Jed Boal ReportingChances are you do not work in a building like the one we are about to show you. In the future, however, we may all find ourselves in workplaces that are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The new OSHA lab in Sandy is getting national recognition.
At first glance the OSHA Salt Lake Technical Center looks like many other buildings in Utah. But the United States Green Building Council calls it the most energy efficient and environmentally-conscious building in Utah.
Jeff Gardner, Project Architect: "The systems we've put in here are very efficient and recover heat and so forth."
Architectural Nexus designed the facility that has sophisticated labs for testing materials that may be evidence in workplace accidents. Typically labs burn a lot of energy. This building saves more than 40-thousand dollars each year in energy costs. It uses 50-percent less energy than a comparable building. The Silver LEED Certification is the highest-rating standard for environmentally-friendly building projects.
Kenner Kingston/Architectural Nexus: "A building that can address the needs of the whole community and not just the owner and the workers is the right kind of building."
But building a better building isn't just about saving energy. It's a holistic approach that includes everything from where the building is located to the materials used.
Jeff Gardner, Project Architect: "We have beautiful materials here. People probably wouldn't know they have highly-recycled content in them."
Workers say the building is brighter and the air is cleaner.
Jerry Schultz, OSHA-Industrial Hygiene Chemistry Division: “The type of work we do is tedious mental work, a lot of deep science. I think this building is a morale boost.”
Natural daylight streams in, sensors and dimmers adjust the artificial light. A white roof reduces excessive heat and xeriscaping reduces water waste outside. Employees have easy access to the interstate and mass transit and in the future, they'll even be able to recharge their electric cars.
At 14-million dollars, this building costs more than similar facilities, but project leaders say the owner reaps the benefits in energy savings and having a building that keeps the workers more comfortable and efficient.