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Historically Sustainable Nakamura Courthouse

Project Background

The 10 story Nakamura Courthouse was built in 1939 and newly renovated in 2007. From 2009 to 2011, the courthouse underwent a LEED-NC renovation and certification, implementing energy efficient building systems while reusing and recycling extisting materials. The Courthouse now proudly displaying its plaque in the lobby with the rest of its notable awards and artifacts.

Historic Preservation & Sustainability

There are many unique and exquisite features of this historic structure that are awe inspiring to historic preservationists and environmentalists alike.

  • Being the first single-purpose federal courthouse in the Western United States, The building represents the United State's commitement to democratic ideals and evokes the stability, permanence, and authority of the Federal government.
  • The renovation focused on utlizing low-environmental impact and locally manufactured materials while upgrading the Courthouse's HVAC unit and insulation to walls and windows. The upgrades resulted in a 9% reduction (158,700 kWh) in energy use.
  • Upgrades to the internal water distribution system and water fixtures saved an estimated 3,217,148 gallons in potable water, a 61% reduction over FY10.
  • The historic walls were reused because of their thickness, termed "thermal mass" by energy engineers, that transmit heated and cooled air much more slowly than some modern thinner insulated walls.

Cork as a Reusable Material

One feature that may go unnoticed, however, is the cork tile flooring in the court rooms and ancillary spaces. The cork flooring dates back to the original construction of the building, and still looks and performs to the same high standard as when it was installed in the 1940's. Nakamura Courthouse can testify to the importance of longevity with regard to sustainable products. Who knew that cork flooring isn't a new invention?

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