GOAB wins silver medal for being green

| 08/03/2012

GOAP (243x300).jpg(CNS): The new Government Office Accommodation Building has been awarded an important green accoladethat demonstrates the energy saving efficiency of the office headquarters. The GOAB has been awarded a Silver Rating by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the US Green Building Council. A rare status in the region, the award is the first of its kind for a building within the Cayman Islands. “This is a major achievement and we in government, past and present MLAs and ministers, are proud to receive the silver certification,” said Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, the minister responsible for facility management.

“It is important that government leads by example and it is our responsibility to design our headquarters as a high performance, energy-efficient building that requires less water, and energy as well as reduces the operational cost substantially from prior levels. There are very few LEED-certified buildings in the Caribbean and the government and the McAlpine Design Build Team should be congratulated for providing the Cayman Islands with a truly sustainable facility,” she added.

The current administration has persistently criticized the previous government for commissioning the new office accommodation building and at one point attempted to divest the building to raise much needed cash. The goal, however, of the previous leader of government business, Kurt Tibbetts, had always been to provide government with a modern energy efficient home that would in less than a decade recoup the cost of the project by a reduction in expenditure on rent and cut government utility bills.

GOAP project manager Jim Scott said the GOAB has the lowest electricity bill per square foot of any commercial office space in the Cayman Islands and explained some of its design qualities that led to the building receiving the certification.

“The building compares very well to an office in the US and has applied best practice design principles,” he said. “It has concentrated on minimizing energy and water intake and waste output, while maximizing recycling and environmental quality. It uses about 45 per cent less energy than typical existing and old US offices, and about 20 per cent less energy than typical new US offices.”

LEED is a standard for measuring a building’s sustainability. Certification can only be awarded after a facility undergoes a rigorous and detailed evaluation by an independent third party. The LEED process began when the building was being constructed in 2008; it was included in the contract that McAlpine had to achieve a LEED Certified Award from the US Green Building Council. The building was registered as a Green Building during the construction phase and now has achieved the Silver Rating. Gold rating or higher requires that all construction materials be purchased within 500 miles of the project and this one of the reasons why the GOAB received a silver rating.

Alan Jones, Chief Officer in the Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture, said the Cayman Islands government is keen to reduce its carbon footprint.
“By recognizing innovative construction methods, sustainable use of resources and a design that prioritizes the needs of the wider environment and society, we have demonstrated that we are environmentally aware as we contribute to the development of an eco-friendly Cayman Islands,” he said.

Other environmental initiatives include an aluminum can recycling programme, established by Facility Management and the Department of Environmental Health, and only green housekeeping products are used at the building.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Science and Nature

Comments (28)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to the PPM

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what Truman has to say about this?? At least when this was being built people had work and the economy here in Cayman was still hanging in there, what is this Government doing but depending on Dart. Stop blaming the PPM, and I am not afraied to say that I supported them before and will do so again, never heard about so many corrupted deals then as you hearing about now. How can any sensible person support UDP after hearing them in Bodden Town the other nigh it was disgraceful.         

    • Anonymous says:

      Truman was last in govt. in 1992-2000 – the boom years between the recessions in 1991 and 2001. He rode the wave. It is no reflection on him that people had work. Truman is also the guy who denied that we had gangs in the schools which has directly led to our gang warfare situation today.  

  3. anonymous says:

    I am still surprised how the bloggers here believe that because the operations cost of this building is lower than other structures that that somehow justifies spending $90,000,000 on a government building!!! One that does not even hold the entire government.

    The building is serious overkill and at CI$410 per square foot it is also the MOST expensive office building ever built in Cayman. 

    So it uses less electricity…..however I am still not convinved it was a good decision overall. PPM or UDP.

    • Anonymous says:

      Even if it did cost CI $410 a square foot (including furniture and fit out, which probably ran to CI $100 of that), remember that in doing so, Government has/will when it finally gets the building fully occupied, gotten rid of an annual rent cost elsewhere, which with all utilities, service charges etc included will exceed CI$40 sq ft. So, in 10 years, the building will have effectively paid for itself, and then Government is saving money.  Its a little more complex than this but not a lot, and for once Government took a long term decision to invest, to reduce the costs over the long term.

  4. anonymous says:

    What I do know is that that building has the MOST SECURITY PERSONNEL per square foot this side of the Pentagon and certainly more than needed. That more than makes up in cost for the energy offset.

    While the elevators use less energy per trip the amount of times they are used daily more than makes up for any energy savings because of the useless security trips up and down.

    You win some, you lose some I guess.

  5. Reality Bites says:

    Did they offset the carbon equivalent of all the flight our politicians take?  Bet they didn't!

  6. Anonymous says:

    When will we have the official opening  Mr  Ellio I would love to view the building

  7. Anonymous says:

    Was it CIG or the McAlpine Design Build Team who made the building so energy-efficient?

    I'd be inclined to say McAlpine and suggest that CIG are basking in the reflected glory.

    In fact I bet that no one in CIG really understands what they just built.


    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly it was Government…the CIG team wrote the criteria for the Design/Build bid which included the energy management component. The McAlpine team merely followed the instruction of CIG. No design/build team just goes off and do what they want.

      Mr Jim Scott of the Ministry and his team carefully managed the design and construction of this building and obviously knew what they were doing. In fact they were a real pain in the butt to the McAlpine team as the supervised this building from what I hear.


  8. Anonymous says:

    I commend Government for having a bit of foresight (especially given energy costs on island) and building something which has a long term benefit, rather than simply going for the lowest cost alternative. But for the building to be truely effecient it must be utilised effectively, as that mean filling up every single desk in that building and getting rid of other ineffecient spaces (owned or lease) at the earliest opportunity. And by every desk I mean every desk, take down the walls between departments if you have so that it is properly effecient and environmentally friendly.  The AC might be super effecient on paper, but its lot less so, if its chilling lots of empty spaces.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Did they plant trees in leiu of civil servants at each desk?

  10. Knot S Smart says:

    Thanks to Kurt and the PPM!

    It is a good thing they spent our money on infrastructure, cause the present Govt is taxing us more and wasting our taxes!

    If it was left to Mac and the UDP all we would have 'green' is the grass and BUSH!

    And JuJu on average is doing a good job for her district, so I give her credit for that, and for showing respect by acknowledging 'past MLA's and Ministers' in relation to this award.

    • Loopy Lou says:

      They spent on money like confetti on grandiose vanity projects.  Neither the UDP nor the PPM are fit to govern.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “It is important that government leads by example and it is our responsibility to design our headquarters as a high performance, energy-efficient building that requires less water, and energy as well as reduces the operational cost substantially from prior levels. There are very few LEED-certified buildings in the Caribbean and the government and the McAlpine Design Build Team should be congratulated for providing the Cayman Islands with a truly sustainable facility,” she added.


    Look in particular at the line: "the government and the McAlpine Design Build Team should be congratulated.."


    Which Government should be congratulated Juju? Who? Cat got your tongue?


    Still want to sell it for peanuts to fund your hurricane Hilton?? By the way, how's that coming? Getting any LEED certification for that? Or even value -for-money for that matter? Gonna finish before the 2013 election? Or you gonna use it as a carrot to promise jobs if you are re-elected?

    • Anonymous says:

      Are there plans to have the building CEPTS certified? That's also a green programme that DOT is spending a heap of government funds on.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It would be greener, not to build at all . . . . . . .

    • Anonymous says:

      ..and we would have less carbon dioxide if you didn't breathe. What is your point? 

  13. Anonymous says:

    I can see it now – the instruction goes outfor the textbooks for the government schools to be re-written to show thatit was the UDP that brought about this new building and the PPM Premier that wanted to sell it off to cronies within weeks of being elected.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Irony – the PPM built a green building but the UDP can't accept a red carpet at official functions.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful.  I'm no JuJU supporter but I must admit that she seems interested in green iniatives.

  16. Anonymous says:

    You may thank the PPM for that.

  17. Old Sea Captain says:

    Wow the building just doubled in value. Imagine if the UDP had been successful in selling it off to we all know who, and we were now paying rent, the new owners would be using this prestigious rating as an excuse to double the rent.

    • anonymous says:

      You obviously do not understand how long term lease-to-own rent structures work. In addition to that its the tenant that recoupes any benifit from a lower utility cost not the building owner.

  18. Anonymous says:

    OK, Julianna, now ensure government entities move to the building since it is only 50% occupied. Why, for example, has the Maritime Authority been allowed to sign a new lease to stay in the private sector building they've been in when there is a space in GOAP with their name on the door?

  19. Anonymous says:

    I am amazed at the certification of the GOAP, after hearing the critics of the UDP and the PREM PREM complaining about the building.  The credit is well deserving of the previous administration (PPM).  That was money well spent and we don't have to wonder, nor look behind to see if anyone is looking. The way to go.