The Fairless Hills Power Generating Station in Fairless Hills, Pa., owned by Exelon Generation Company, LLC, is the second largest landfill gas-fueled power plant in the U.S., currently producing 28 megawatts (MW) of power, or 672 MW hours daily – enough power for 30,000 homes. Gannett Fleming Architects, Inc. was retained to convert the industrial office area at this plant’s main entrance into an education center, one of only a few such facilities in the U.S. Integrated with the Pennsylvania Department of Education's proven curriculum, the center captivates and bolsters young minds by teaching children in a way that utilizes memorable physical activity.
In order to meet Exelon’s completion goal, the center utilized a fast-track, design-build integrated project delivery method. During the aggressive five-month schedule, the project scope grew significantly – from 3,950 to 11,630 square feet of renovation and alteration, in addition to upgrades to the entire 110,000-square-foot power plant. Interestingly, all renovations were made in this fully functioning, 24/7 power plant with no power disruption.
Project Sustainable Strategies:
- Daylight modeling was used for calculating the lighting benefit of ducted skylights, as well as the storefront windows. In addition, a complex lighting system was incorporated. The classroom ceiling and display lighting is controlled by a pre-settable dimming control system with motion sensors. The exterior lighting is controlled by a dusk-to-dawn photocell, but it may also be turned off at desired preset times.
- Low-flow plumbing fixtures were installed in the restrooms, and all other fixtures installed contain either flow-restricting faucets or inline flow restrictors to reduce water requirements by 25 percent.
- Building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems were replaced for the new use of the space and to exceed current standards in energy efficiency and conservation. A single roof-top HVAC unit supplies conditioned air and provides the required air changes for indoor air quality. Individual spaces are controlled with variable air volume boxes. The HVAC system uses renewable energy from the plant, as well as plant-generated steam for heating to increase efficiency.
- The suite’s interior included the use of low-emitting materials and a minimum of 10 percent, by cost, recycled materials. The display area was designed with a veneer wood ceiling tile having 70 percent recycled content. Selected for its durability and enhanced aesthetics, it also eliminates the need for dusting and provides for better indoor air quality.
- Achieving high indoor air quality was one of the owner’s primary goals. The display area was also designed with a glass-backed carpet tile containing 76 percent recycled content. Furniture also includes recycled content and refurbished components, and low and no-VOC paints were utilized.
- A “green” cleaning program was also adopted to ensure the indoor air quality is preserved.
- Construction waste management practices were used for demolition activities to maximize recycling of waste.
- Exelon’s staff enhanced its recycling program, which met the LEED® recycling requirements and will result in long-term resource conservation.