Wright-Pierce, a New England provider of water, wastewater and civil engineering services, has set a new standard for sustainable, energy-efficient municipal infrastructure design in the newly constructed water treatment facility for the city of Rochester, N.H.
The Cocheco Well facility, built in the Cocheco River watershed, is the first water treatment facility in New England to be LEED certified. There are currently more than 40,000 LEED-certified projects in the country with very few municipal facilities qualifying for the prestigious designation.
Driven by an initiative to reduce energy costs and minimize impact to the watershed, the city of Rochester worked closely with Wright-Pierce and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) from the early stages of the project to identify LEED standards and select those that were most cost-effective and had the greatest long-term return for the project. Criteria for LEED certification includes lower operating costs and increased asset value, reduced waste sent to landfills, site sustainability, energy and water conservation, use of recycled and local materials, air quality and innovation in design. LEED standards were adopted during both the design and construction phases for the project.
The energy saving features of the recently completed water treatment plant include a geothermal heating and cooling system, use of high-efficiency pumps and the orientation of the building to take advantage of natural sunlight for lighting. The environmental features of the plant include use of local materials, use of wood products that are certified to be grown in sustainable forests, separation and recycling of waste materials, and the infiltration of storm water into the ground. In addition, a water main was installed under the Cocheco River using a technique called "directional drilling." The technique minimized impacts to the river and surrounding wetlands.
"When undertaking this project, we wanted to think long term about the city's water customers, so sustainability was key." Wright-Pierce Senior Vice President Rick Davee, PE, said. "It was a real team effort. Wright-Pierce worked closely with the city and the USGBC to design a facility that meets the LEED standards of sustainability. We're very proud of the LEED certification."