TORRINGTON — What was once the future is very much now in the construction industry. The trend toward “green buildings” continues unabated and is likely to someday be the norm in the construction of all types of structures.
O& G Industries, headquartered in Torrington, has been at the forefront of green building construction. That fact was duly noted when O&G was recognized as a “Top U.S. Green Builder” by the Engineering News Record on its annual Top 100 Green-Buildings Contractor list, which ranks the country’s top sustainable building contractors.
O&G ranked 77th overall and tied for 8th place as the largest green building contractor in the educational market. O&G is currently managing school construction projects in Colchester, East Lyme, Groton, Hartford, Ledyard, New London, Plainville, Washington, Willimantic and Woodbury. O&G is the only Connecticut-based contractor recognized on the 2018 list.
“We get a lot of recognition on the road and bridge construction side of our business due to visibility of those projects,” said company spokesperson Seth Duke. “It’s hard to miss the gold trucks and equipment lining our major highway projects. This award is really a testament to our building division and the work they do in building schools, renovating hospitals, industrial and manufacturing facilities. Not to mention, it really shows off the diversity of our company between road building, building construction and materials supply.”
He added that the school market was one of the first to embrace sustainability across all of the state’s public projects with this recognition is a huge testament to O&G’s success in school construction.
O&G has13 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professionals on its staff, and has 15 LEED projects completed to its credit. LEED is a green building rating system. Available for virtually all building, community and home project types, it provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.
Notable LEED projects completed by O&G in the Litchfield County region include: Lakeville’s The Hotchkiss School (Esther Eastman Music Center & Walker Auditorium, Monaghan Building Conversion, Flinn and Edelman Dormitories, and the school’s central heating plant); Watertown’s Taft School, (the Horace Dutton Taft Dining Hall,) and Washington’s Horace Mann School, (the John Dorr Nature Laboratory.)
O&G is a general contractor, construction manager, design/builder and specialty sub-contractor with nearly a century of experience in commercial building, power plant, road and bridge, and site construction. The company has clients in education, health care, industrial manufacturing, transportation, power and municipal markets throughout the country.
According to www.greenbuildingsolutions, green building, or sustainable, design is a method of “wisely using resources to create high-quality, healthier and more energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings.” Green design seeks to find a balance between high-quality construction and low environmental impact. Green building combines both materials and processes to maximize efficiency, durability and savings.
“To be a sustainable builder you really have to focus on your practices and processes,” said Duke. “Sustainable building is about managing the waste stream during construction, sourcing building products from local suppliers and ensuring maximum energy efficiency from the building envelope and mechanical systems.”
He continued, “We have 13 LEED AP Certified Professionals on staff and use LEED consultants to fill in any gaps in specialty areas. We’re very active in pursuing opportunities to learn the latest techniques in building design and construction, and sharing those lessons across the company. Most importantly, we have a solid process in place to track our waste steam on projects to ensure we maximize the amount of materials we recycle.”
Duke called the central heating plant at The Hotchkiss School the company’s most significant LEED project to date. “It’s a LEED Certified project that was completed in 2012 and has been nationally recognized with numerous awards. The facility is 16,500 square feet in total and was built as a part of an initiative by the school to be carbon neutral by 2020. The facility provides heat to 1.2 million square feet of buildings on the campus. Most importantly, the school is able to heat its campus using sustainable harvested wood chips and replace the usage of 150,000 gallons of imported fuel oil each year. They were also able to cut their sulfur dioxide emissions by 90 percent.”
Currently, the firm is working with The Gunnery School in Washington on the construction of a new Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. The project will pursue LEED Silver Certification and features sustainable building methods including daylight harvesting and geothermal heating sources in addition to a high efficiency building envelope and mechanical systems.
Duke said, “We are always looking at opportunities to grow our business, operate more efficiently and deliver the greatest value to our clients. The market for sustainable building construction is only going to grow as it becomes more standardize and widely adopted across other industries. Currently we have over a dozen public school projects under construction that all far within the Connecticut sustainability standard which is a LEED equivalency standard.”