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KMA Architecture and Engineering has been honored to work on many projects that are utilized by the U.S. Military on a daily basis. KMA applies and successfully integrates green design principles into these projects while still adhering to the needs of the government and budgetary constraints. While most people seem to see these types of projects as prototypes with little room to be creative and environmentally-friendly, KMA has proven that this is simply not the case.

One of KMA’s current projects, the new two-story Education Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., is a prime example of how smart and innovative designs work to improve the quality of life for its occupants.

“Vandenberg is the third largest U.S. Air Force Base in the United States, and the new educational facility plans to serve more than 1,360 personnel daily, with an average of 600 students annually via distance learning,” said Heather Mertes, LEED AP BD+C and Associate at KMA Architecture and Engineering. “Our goal is to design an indoor and outdoor environment that enhances occupant well being and performance.”

To put the 38,376 square-foot structure on track to achieve LEED® Silver Certification, the team is incorporating sustainable design elements such as natural day-lighting and enhanced building envelope performance. Some of the proposed design features include solar shades at windows and permeable pavers on site. The landscape architect is planning on incorporating drought tolerant/native plant species into the landscaping. In addition, occupants who drive low-emitting vehicles, or those choosing to carpool, will have special designated spots in the parking lot. Bike storage will also be available for those who prefer to pedal to work. Materials that use recycled content and are locally sourced/manufactured will be used wherever possible.

“Truly sustainable design takes into account not only the use of eco-friendly materials, but also measurable results and the impact that the use of those elements has on the environment,” said Mertes. “The efficient building envelope and MEP systems we are looking at are aimed at improving energy efficiency by 30 percent and reducing potable water usage by 40 percent.”

Construction is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2012 with completion estimated for 2013.

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