O'Brien Construction could win award for its green headquarters

O'Brien Construction could win award for its green headquarters

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O'Brien Construction's new energy efficient headquarters in Troy is up for an environmental award. O'Brien Construction's new energy efficient headquarters in Troy is up for an environmental award.
TROY, Mich. (WJBK) -

A growing number of construction companies are  implementing green practices.  In Troy, one company used those practices to build a new headquarters.  They are now up for an environmental award.

A conference rooms grows brighter without even turning on the lights.  What looks like a light is really a solar tube similar to a skylight, which can be adjusted to let in more or less sunlight.  It is just one of many green features at O'Brien Construction, which has specialized in commercial and multifamily buildings for 50 years.

"We wanted to build something that 20 years from now will still be very efficient," owner Tim O'Brien explained.

He said that is why the company included so many eco-friendly systems in its new 10,000 square foot headquarters on Livernois, including geothermal heating and cooling, a duo use hot water system, energy efficient lighting and even a conference table made from reclaimed wood from the walls of a demolished Hamtramck home.

The company also used spray foam insulation under the roof, and there is additional insulation on top of the roof.  That really locks in the heat or cold and makes the building more energy efficient.

"In our mind, the most energy efficient thing you can do is insulation because it's fairly inexpensive and it's there forever," said O'Brien.

"A lot of new technology in this building and we've demonstrated that it does work.  We've been here less than a year.  We've also saved a lot of energy in that year," said Energy Manager Dick Green.

He told us the changes have cut utility costs dramatically, and while some of the features cost more up front, the project is expected to pay for itself in just over a decade.

There is even an electric vehicle charging station outside where one worker plugs in his Chevy Volt.

For all of their green efforts, O'Brien Construction is one of the finalists for an Environmental Achievement Award from the Environmental Management Association.  The winner will be announced on April 18 at the Detroit Athletic Club.

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