Houston County's outline for a new Justice Center was to replace a series of outdated buildings occupied by various departments with a single cohesive facility to house all county entities tasked with Justice and Law Enforcement. Rather than demolishing the existing historic buildings, the client's objective was to build a new facility, while retaining the existing buildings in order to gather government services into a campus and reuse existing building stock. The county requested a state of the art facility incorporating Sustainable and green design concepts wherever possible. The limited site space remaining, the need to retain a historic monument on site, and city requirements that the new building not exceed thirty five feet in height or 65,000 square ft. of area presented additional challenges to the design team.
Despite the limited site area, the site and landscape design respects both sustainability, and the natural habitat of the area. Storm water is fully treated onsite via infiltration, and native plantings are used throughout for landscape. The landscape plan calls for plant materials which should require no irrigation and as native species will withstand the harsh climate.
Many interior finishes were selected with sustainability in mind. For example, all adhesives are specified to be low VOC, the carpet is 100% recyclable, and all products generated during manufacturing are recycled so that no waste will enter the landfill. The pre-manufactured steel cells used in the facility are made of 90% recycled content; their offsite manufacturing process reduced material waste and enabled mass production quality control.
The building's mechanical system incorporates sustainable design concepts. The jail air handling units incorporated heat recovery coils to preheat the fresh air intake with heat recovered from the cell exhaust air. Air handler controls utilize ventilation reset strategies, CO2 sensors and occupancy sensors to vary the ventilation air intake rates based on actual occupancy levels. Hot water heaters and hydronic heating boilers utilize high efficiency condensing boilers with peak efficiencies of 97%.