Tri State Utilities
In July 2012, Tri-State Utilities (TSU) opened a new 5,600 square-foot corporate headquarters in Chesapeake, Virginia. The structure provided much needed expansion space for the corporate offices, and provided a new identity that represents TSU’s outstanding technical experience and a continued dedication to the environment. This dedication served as a powerful guide as HBA Architecture and Interior Design and TSU embarked on the design process for this new “green” facility. The location of the site, selection of materials, energy use, natural lighting and views, controllability of the interior environment, and improved indoor air quality were all major components to the sustainable design. HBA worked extensively with TSU, utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) and 3-D computer renderings to fully develop the design. These virtual tools allowed for an understanding of not only the aesthetic, but the functional and operational aspects of the project for the entire team. Although this project achieves many of the same goals typically found in a building seeking a sustainable certification, in this case the project forwent the registration process and focused on quality of life and lifecycle costing as the yardstick by which the project would be measured.
The project site is located at the front of the existing TSU complex, becoming the first thing you see and creating the new “first impression” the company desired. During site design, proximity to the adjacent buildings, visual security, and control of storm water were major factors influencing the site plan. Excessive storm water generation stresses the local sewer systems resulting in overflows during heavy rain and polluting the local watershed with silt and contaminants. The new site design minimizes paved areas and is constructed with a bioswale landscape feature that helps limit storm water generation and improves the water quality as well as the water quantity released into the municipal system.