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AAFES officials open first 'green' BX at Randolph

  • Published
  • By Sean Bowlin
  • 502nd Air Base Wing Operating Location-B Public Affairs
Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials unveiled its first-ever environmentally friendly base exchange to shoppers when it opened the doors of the new Randolph Air Force Base Exchange March 5.

The new Randolph Air Force Base BX is AAFES' first exchange built to the environmental standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The building supports the Air Force sustainable design and development policy, according to Army Maj. Gen. Keith Thurgood, the AAFES commander.

"Its impact across the Air Force will be big in that it's the new AAFES standard when it comes to constructing new or upgrading current facilities to meet leadership in energy and environmental design standards," the general explained. "With energy-saving materials, more efficient lighting and improved recycling processes just to name a few, AAFES can give a bigger dividend to Air Force services for morale, welfare and recreation programs. The impact will also be small; small in regard to the impact our facilities will have on the environment, leaving a smaller footprint across the Air Force, the Army and the Department of Defense."

According to AAFES officials, there's ample evidence of the new 167,100 square-foot facility's earth-friendliness, so much so that the building is being considered for a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The LEED certification program is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

Ron Ramsey, the AAFES project manager for the new BX's construction, said energy-efficient glass is used in all the building's exterior doors and windows. Energy-efficient lighting, heating and air conditioning reduce energy consumption and costs and an energy-management system coordinates heating ventilation and air conditioning and lighting systems in unison to improve energy efficiency and reduce the overall costs to operate the building. Also, said the exterior lighting in the parking lot is shielded to redirect the light from shining up into the sky, reducing light pollution and saving energy. Additionally, restaurants in the food court feature energy-efficient walk-in coolers that save up to 27 percent more energy.

To help regulate the building's temperature, Mr. Ramsey explained the design called for a roofing membrane, that reflects 78 percent of light and ultraviolet rays, reducing the store's annual energy costs. LED lighting in product showcases uses less energy and also generates brighter lighting for easier viewing of items displayed.

People walking on the BX's carpet may not know this particular floor covering is made from 40 percent recycled materials and the shopping bags customers leave with are made of 15 percent post-consumer recycled material, Mr. Ramsey said. In the BX's stockroom, employees are recycling shipping cartons, plastic and paper. Bulk quantities are being sold to local recyclers to be reused.

Efficient use of water is another earth-friendly feature of the new BX. In fact, restroom patrons will notice low gallons-per-flush toilets, waterless urinals, that save water, and the use of water-efficient equipment in the food court reduces water consumption by 20 percent, Mr. Ramsey said.

Shoppers looking for goods in the new store may not be aware the cool they're feeling comes from a chilled water system with a central cooling tower, that's rated as 24 percent more efficient in cooling the building instead of a standard rooftop air-conditioning unit, Mr. Ramsey said. The air shoppers breathe in the new building is checked by air quality monitors placed in the store that track carbon dioxide levels to assist in maintaining a healthy indoor air quality. Also, green housekeeping practices are used by the building's maintenance staff to reduce or eliminate hazardous material pollution and exposure to chemicals. Finally, low-emitting adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings and floor materials made with compliant low-volatile organic compounds help to improve the BX's overall indoor air quality.

For more information on AAFES' sustainability or "green" programs, go to www.aafes.com and choose the "sustainability" link.