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As I’ve mentioned in previous entries, green building is a growing focus for Stewart Perry’s business. While our appreciation for the land works its way into every project we take on, our own corporate campus and our recent work constructing the Ruffner Mountain Nature Center have had green interests at the very heart of the project.
That’s why when the KPS Group, our architect partner on the Ruffner project, approached us about joining sponsorship forces with them at this week’s Green Building Focus Conference and Expo, I jumped to participate. Hosting an event of this caliber was a huge honor for Birmingham and made a statement about the city’s commitment to sustainable building. It was a privilege to provide cocktails to make everyone feel more welcome at the opening night party.
We took the stage with KPS to discuss our work at Ruffner and they even let me have a few minutes to share the highlights of our LEED certified corporate campus. Many thanks to all who attended. We look forward to welcoming you back next year.
Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham, Ala. Contact him via email.
A small but growing portion of our business is what I would call “green building.” After the construction of our new LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certified office building last year, we have been exploring several other projects in the Birmingham area as a way to diversify our business, encourage environmental sustainability and ultimately make ourselves more marketable. Many new government and public buildings are already built to LEED specifications and, with the current political atmosphere, I see public works on the rise in the coming years. The number of private LEED projects is growing as well, and the US Green Building Council is the governing body behind accreditation of both types of projects.
The Ruffner Mountain Nature Coalition was founded in 1977 as a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a nature center a few miles east of downtown Birmingham. Since then, their Nature Center has grown to more than 1,000 acres of untouched forest. Preserve rangers lead free hikes and tours for groups and individuals who want to learn.
For the past three decades they have operated out of a small block building. Seeing the potential to reach more people, they decided to upgrade their facilities. After several years of fundraising, Ruffner partnered with the KPS group to design a state-of-the-art LEED certified visitor’s center and education pavilion. The design used sustainable architecture, rainwater collection systems and lots of recycled and reused building materials.
Stewart Perry came into play as a LEED certified building contractor. We broke ground in August of 2008 and finished in July of 2009. The new visitor center has meeting and conference rooms, a woodland animal exhibit hall, small shop and an information center, but most of all, it shows a respect for the land it’s built on.