Company Walks the Walk – The Daily Local News : Serving Chester County
Sunday, March 22, 2009 6:07 AM EDT
By GRETCHEN METZ, Staff Writer
EAST WHITELAND – Cars that run on alternative energy get a special parking space at IMC Construction headquarters. People who work in the building get special treatment, too. Offices and conference rooms are lit by sunshine. Computers turn themselves off if no one is at the keyboard for an hour. Office lights turn off two minutes after the occupant leaves. Efficient ventilation scrubs the indoor air.
“This is not a trendy green wave, it is becoming mainstream. It is not extraordinary in cost or what was done,” said Tom Williams, chairman of IMC, a design/construction company currently building Tasty Baking’s Headquarters in Philadelphia, a bakery aiming to be certified LEED Silver.
IMC, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) consultant, takes its work seriously and takes it home. Its headquarters at 3 Great Valley Parkway has a LEED Gold certification, the first in East Whiteland.
LEED, a green building rating system, was created by the U.S. Green Building Council and is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
IMC was the host of an International Council of Shopping Centers workshop Thursday that included a tour of the building. IMC bought the building last year and gutted it. During the renovation, the company recycled ceiling tiles, used recycled carpets and wood from sustainable forests. It also installed waterless urinals, saving 40,000 gallons of water a year. There are no office doors and the walls are glass to allow more natural light into the building.
IMC put a white roof on the 20-plus year old building to cut down on energy use and the heat-island effect. “A black roof and blacktop affects the temperature,” Williams said. “The temperature in Philadelphia is 5 degrees warmer than the suburbs and the temperature in Great Valley Corporate Center is 5 degrees warmer than at my house in Chester Spring.” As for the blacktop, Williams acknowledged there is no good alternative in this climate.
“The main thing is to create as much green space as you can,” said Williams, whose company is putting up three buildings with green roofs.
“It’s not done to be trendy, it helps with storm-water runoff,” Williams said.
IMC has done consrtruction projects for Bryn Mawr Hospital, the Balwin School and Immaculata University.