Neosho National Fish Hatchery Receives 2012 Federal
Energy and Water Management Award
Neosho NFH DOE Award. Photo by USFWS
By Katie Steiger-Meister
Representatives from Neosho National Fish Hatchery were in Washington, D.C. on October 4 to receive the 2012 Federal Energy and Water Management Award. The award, given out by the U.S. Department of Energy, recognizes projects that have made outstanding contributions to the areas of energy efficiency, water conservation and the use of renewable energy technologies at federal facilities.
Neosho NFH was established in 1888 and is the oldest operating federal fish hatchery. The hatchery encompasses approximately 18 acres in the heart of the town of Neosho, Missouri, due to availability of excellent-quality spring water. It raises endangered pallid sturgeon for recovery efforts in the lower Missouri River and rainbow trout for stocking in Lake Taneycomo. It supports conservation of the endangered Ozark cavefish and restoration of native mussels.
More than 20 years after the hatchery’s centennial, a new high-performance 9,839 square-foot Visitor Center, the first U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service building to earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating officially from the U.S. Green Building Council, opened in December 2010. The Visitor Center is architecturally designed to mimic the original headquarters from 1888, which featured similar onion dome and witches hat roof styles.
Many energy efficiency design strategies were realized in the finished construction. The super-insulated building retains thermal mass. Passive solar architecture reduces heating and cooling loads and operating costs. The building’s orientation, floor plan, and window locations were strategically placed for maximum daylighting and scenic views. Energy efficiency is accelerated with low-e glazed, double-hung, aluminum-clad operable windows that are easy to maintain, while minimizing solar heat and maximizing visible light.
A lighting control system including occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, timers, and dimmers, together with energy-efficient fluorescent, task, and LED lighting, minimize energy used for artificial lighting. Closed-loop geothermal wells provide 60-degree glycol to zoned ground-source heat pumps (31.13 tons) controlled by individual thermostats that ensure thermal comfort for heating and cooling of fresh supply air.
Mechanical ventilation is treated separately by an energy recovery unit that contributes to energy savings. All of these energy conservation measures combine to yield energy performance at least 34% better than an average building. In addition, a net-metered, grid-tied, 16-panel 3.36 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the roof produces 4.818 MWH of renewable electric power. Site lighting is kept to minimum levels required for safety. Outside light fixtures that direct light downward were chosen to ensure the visual access to the night sky and prevent disruption of nocturnal animal habitat (dark sky principles).
The facility was built using environmentally friendly, regionally extracted and manufactured “natural” materials including Hardie-Plank fiber cement siding, wood framing (not from old growth forests), a long-life, standing-seam metal “cool” roof, and marmoleum flooring. Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) emitting carpets, paints, and adhesives provide a healthy indoor environment.
Building elements were selected for high recycled content, such as: steel rebar, insulation, acoustical ceiling tiles, carpet, ceramic tile, and restroom partitions. Polished, stained concrete floors with attractive stainless steel fish inlays reduce maintenance. The exterior deck is made of recycled waste materials. Low-flow plumbing conserves 28,225 gallons of water annually.
Using hatchery spring water for large aquariums eliminates the need to de-chlorinate potable city water. Water-efficient landscaping with native plants and forbs avoids chemical use and irrigation. Stormwater containment and drainage swales conserve more water. Concrete drives and paths minimize the heat island effect compared to asphalt.
The efficiencies built into Neosho NFH’s Visitor Center contribute to over $7,000 in savings on both energy and water use expenses.