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The building's green features include a water-based in-floor radiant heat system with a boiler that uses waste oil from fleet vehicles.
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When precast fabricator High Concrete Group, of Denver, Pa., decided to construct a $4.1 million, 16,200-square-foot maintenance building, it wasn't surprising that it selected precast concrete. The durability and environmentally friendly characteristics of the company's CarbonCast products made it an especially easy choice. These carbon fiber-reinforced products are energy-efficient, reduce weight, and minimize corrosion. The building is expected to earn LEED Silver certification.

The design team's all-precast approach reduced operational energy costs almost 25%. Thermally efficient sandwich wall panels provide an R-value of 25 with thinner, lighter sections. The panels are reinforced with innovative carbon fiber shear trusses to ensure their load-bearing capability.

Eight inches of insulation on the roof's double-tees deliver an R-value of 40. The double-tees include non-corrosive C-GRID carbon fiber flange reinforcement, and weigh 10% less than traditional double-tees. Other features, such as the building's water-based, infloor radiant heat system, also help reduce energy costs by 24.5%, compared to a typical code-compliant building.

The light-colored precast reduces the urban heat island effect, and requires less artificial light to illuminate the building. The thermal mass and reflective properties of precast concrete lessen interior temperature changes, and reduce heating and cooling costs.

The precaster also took advantage of recycled and reusable materials. Virtually all of the reinforcing steel was made from recycled steel. Also, because the precast process is self-contained, finishing materials and formwork can be used multiple times. One unusual benefit of using precast sandwich wall panels is that they can be reused in different applications, such as a building expansion or protecting shorelines from erosion.