Exeter, NH – Unitil, a local provider of natural gas and electricity, announced that its Seacoast Operations Center has become the first building in New Hampshire to achieve WELL Certified designation.
Unitil shares this achievement with its Exeter facility’s New Hampshire-based design and construction partners, including PROCON and Stibler Associates, LLC, as well as the Resilient Buildings Group, which supported Unitil’s WELL Certification process.
The 54,000sf regional facility in Exeter was designed and constructed by PROCON to meet the rigorous standards of the WELL Building, which focuses on the health and well-being of building occupants and the environment. The new facility is also LEED certified and is located on Energy Way, just off Exit 9 on Route 101, a location selected specifically to help facilitate swift response to outages throughout Unitil’s Seacoast service region.
The Unitil Operations Center is a state-of-the-art facility that serves as a hub for emergency response and disaster recovery operations. It was designed with innovative features and technologies to promote the health and wellness of its occupants, including clean air and water systems, natural light, and access to outdoor spaces.
Unitil’s WELL Certified Gold designation was achieved through a third-party verification of the building’s adherence to the highest standards of health and wellness, including air quality, water quality, access to healthy food, mental health support, and more.
Some LEED and WELL features include:
- Collection of stormwater from the roof used to wash vehicles in the wash bay
- High-performance building envelope with 4-inch insulated metal wall panels (R-30) and R-41 insulation
- Use of biophilic design, including a living wall
- EV Charging stations in the building for fleet vehicles and outside for employees
- Vending with nutritional information available at point of purchase
Unitil worked with long-term partner, PROCON, as the designer and construction manager for the project. While energy efficiency practices and other environmentally friendly design choices have been made throughout the building, the building was designed as an “essential” facility, meaning it can operate during a man-made disaster, similar to a police or fire station. The facility serves as the region’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during significant weather events. It supports the preparation, damage assessment, public safety, and restoration efforts as the hub of local operations.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the WELL Certified achievement for Unitil’s Operations Center, which symbolizes our commitment to sustainability and wellness in the built environment,” said John Stebbins, managing director of PROCON. “This certification is a testament to the hard work of our team and partners, and we are thrilled to have collaborated once again with Unitil on this landmark project.”
“Unitil is proud to lead the way in sustainability and wellness by achieving the first WELL certification in New Hampshire. This facility has been built from the ground up to maximize our effectiveness as an emergency response organization and enhance our ability to deliver safe and reliable service,” Unitil external affairs manager, Alec O’Meara, said. “At the same time, this state-of-the-art facility has been responsibly designed with a focus on sustainability to improve energy efficiency, lower costs, and protect our environment. We are incredibly pleased to have partnered with PROCON on this outstanding facility, which represents a significant investment in the health and well-being of our employees and the communities we serve.”
“Working with Unitil has been very rewarding as they lead by example by incorporating LEED, WELL, and EnergyStar certifications into this new facility,” said Michael Lawrence, architectural associate principal at PROCON. “Their commitment to the environment and their local customers is admirable.”
Unitil also partnered with Resilient Buildings Group to support its WELL and LEED certification efforts, as well as Stibler Associates, LLC, for space planning and interior design services, which included assistance with materials selections, furniture specifications, artwork and interior graphics.
“We’re embracing a new era of sustainability and wellness in the Granite State. Through a combination of strategies between the LEED and WELL rating systems, this project demonstrates how we can transform our built environment into spaces that not only benefit our planet, but also enhance the well-being of all who inhabit them. It was a pleasure working with such a highly motivated and involved team from innovative design, thoughtful construction, and a shared vision for a healthier future,” said Laura Samoisette, project manager with Resilient Buildings Group and a LEED and WELL Accredited Professional.