KONE Centre Achieves Green Building Milestone for Illinois

MOLINE, Ill. — The KONE Centre, a new office building in Moline, Ill., received the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum certification for the structure’s core and shell in late October. This marks the first time a project in Illinois has reached that high of a rating for its core and shell. Minneapolis-based Ryan Companies served as the general contractor on the project while HOK, out of St. Louis, handled design duties as the architectural firm. The $50 million mixed-use building stands eight stories tall, covering 125,000 square feet, and houses retail and office space. The project received $470,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Community Renewable Energy Program.

The project was originally proposed in 2007 and went through several redesigns, with more green technology added each time, before finally being completed and opening in August of 2012 after approximately a year of construction.

The building was named for KONE Inc, an international elevator and escalator manufacturer, which is also the primary tenant, housing 375 employees on-site. The facility will also house nearly 250 public employees representing the Quad Cities, which include Iowa cities Davenport and Bettendorf, along with Illinois cities Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline. The employees working in the building will enjoy an abundance of natural lighting, as 98 percent of the structure’s spaces have daylight views.

The facility features several of KONE’s own products, like three MonoSpace elevators. According to KONE, the elevators are made with 95 percent recyclable materials and consume approximately 40 percent less energy than conventional traction elevators. The MonoSpace model also doesn’t require a traditional machine room. The elevators also use KONE’s Polaris destination control system, which directs passengers to select their destination when calling an elevator. The system then assigns elevators to groups of passengers, eliminating extra stops for each group. The traffic control system decreases the sense of passengers racing to cram into individual elevators and saves energy costs by lowering the amount of stops per elevator trip.

The project features 1365 distributed solar panels, representing the third largest array in the state and providing 388,000 kilowatt-hours of energy annually. The solar panels are projected to save the structure around 30.5 percent of its energy costs.

Low-flow plumbing fixtures give the building a 36 percent savings in water usage. Ryan Companies ensured that 27 percent of the construction materials were recycled.

Rodney Blackwell, managing principal of Financial District Partners, which owns the Kone Centre, said his company’s officials were aiming for LEED certification, but ended up going for higher ratings as they realized how close they were to doing something new in Illinois.

He explained, “We originally said we would go for silver certification. Then once we got into the project really deep, we knew we had gold certification nailed. Then, when we realized no one had ever achieved platinum, we decided to go after it and internally kept it quiet.”

Blackwell told Quad-Cities Online he thought green design was developing into a good-natured arms race among large companies, explaining, “Saving energy and being a little more environmentally conscious is becoming more mainstream. I am amazed as most top companies are going way beyond the scope. It is almost generalized now that this methodology is one to hold onto, to look at a project with your whole mind.”

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