Focus on Manchester: Manchester auto training center an enviro model

Community college’s new facility first of its kind to be LEED certified

The new Automotive Science and Technology Center at Manchester Community College is designed to be not only the city’s first LEED certified building but the first such facility in the Community College System of New Hampshire.

In fact, the facility will be the first LEED certified automotive training facility in the country.

The facility, designed by Lavallee Brensinger Architects and built by Jewett Construction Co. Inc., will support the college’s growing automotive technology programs and be the first new construction on campus to meet the American College and University Presidents Climate Change Commitment. Manchester Community College President Darlene Miller had earlier pledged to create a comprehensive action plan for the campus to move toward climate neutrality.

This commitment demands a sharp reduction and eventual elimination of all of the college’s global warming emissions, and acceleration of educational efforts to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate. The new Automotive Science and Technology Center will be the first major step toward this commitment.

Designed to achieve a LEED certified rating as established by the U.S. Green Building Council, the center will incorporate a variety of strategies to increase energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact, including: rainwater collection for flushing toilets and urinals to reduce potable water demand; a daylight harvesting system using 48 tubular skylights designed to turn off electric lighting, thus saving electricity; in-slab radiant-heating for better thermal comfort; high-efficiency boilers and heat recovery units; and solar panels to heat water.

“The new Automotive Training Center is a terrific example of how to design a building that is highly functional, energy efficient, environmentally responsible, as well as cost-effective,” said Chris Drobat, principal-in-charge for Lavallee Brensinger. “This could not have occurred without the dedication and integrated effort between the college, the architectural and engineering team and the construction manager.”

Beyond the design features of the building, sustainable technologies also will be implemented during the construction process, which began earlier this fall. Jewett will target a minimum of 90 percent recycling of on-site construction waste and will implement an indoor air quality management plan to ensure a healthy environment for contractors working in the building and those who will occupy the building.

For areas outside the facility, a pollution prevention plan will address minimizing overall construction impact on the site.

“We are happy to have the opportunity to work with the owners and architects to prove that you can build a project that is sustainable and LEED certified, within a previously established budget,” said Randy Overbey, LEED accredited professional and project manager for Jewett.

‘A showplace’

While there are several other highly sustainable buildings in the state, the Automotive Science and Technology Center employs several new systems and strategies.

As with the other LEED certified projects, the Automotive Science and Technology program will be making changes to raise awareness among students and other building occupants. All cleaning agents used by students will be water-based and biodegradable, and there will be a designated area for recycling such items as metal, aluminum, paper and glass. “The center will be a showplace that is environmentally conscious, learning friendly and cutting-edge for automobile technicians. The 70,000-square-foot building offers opportunity to explore advanced technologies and alternative fuels,” said Marc Bellerose, chair of the college’s automotive technology department. “Our developing program will integrate areas that raise awareness for students and the industry. Sound, environmentally friendly practices and a green facility will be a fundamental part of the future of our programs.”

The facility will consist of four drive-in laboratories, each with a capacity of 12 vehicles, several drive-in classrooms, and component laboratories that will allow students to focus on specific systems of a vehicle, like transmissions, engine management systems or electronic systems. A central, automated storage area for lab components and secure storage areas provides space for students’ tools.

Another feature of the program will be a new dynamometer lab that enables students to evaluate vehicle performance for learning diagnostic skills.