Neundorfer
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Neundorfer Walks the "Green" Talk


A True Story of One Company’s Growth and Commitment to Sustainable Solutions

Neundorfer, Inc. was bursting at the seams in their dated, 1960’s-era Cleveland, Ohio facility in late 2003. The company, which specializes in electrostatic precipitators and fabric filtration equipment and technologies that reduce air pollution emissions for coal-fired utilities and selected manufacturing plants, had experienced steady growth in revenues and staff and quite simply had run out of room. The company had the option to build a new facility elsewhere (an option embraced by so many firms today) or to devise a solution at their current location. “We didn’t want to contribute to urban sprawl and all the associated issues with new construction and extended traffic—essentially everything that comes with the choice to start from scratch rather than to reconfigure and reuse what you have,” said company president Mike Neundorfer. “We’re in the business of saving energy and minimizing environmental impact, so we wanted a solution that honored that focus.”

As luck would have it, an adjacent building, the former site of a furniture manufacturer and most recently a machine shop, became available for sale. Neundorfer made the leap to invest in their current location and purchased the property with the intention to connect and unify the two buildings. From there, Neundorfer contacted Doty & Miller Architects and Jordan Construction, Inc. in order to forge a three-way collaborative partnership to accomplish this reconstruction project. Doty & Miller Architects are well-known for their work in adaptive re-use, historic preservation and sustainable design. In fact, the firm is the only architectural firm in the U.S. with offices in a freestanding structure with Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Similarly, 35-year-veteran general contracting firm Jordan Construction regularly takes on forward-thinking, environmentally conscious commercial and industrial construction projects. “From the beginning, we were united in our commitment to a sustainable redevelopment that minimized environmental impact and created pleasing aesthetic design, with a responsibility to quality and costs as well,” said Bill Doty, president of the architectural firm. Rich Carnevale, owner of Jordan Construction adds, “We completely supported Neundorfer in their commitment to the idea of using and disposing of building products with sensitivity to the environment.”

These principles drove every decision made in the project, from the broad and visionary right down to every construction detail. Many features of sustainable design were incorporated into the project:
  • Preservation of existing buildings and infrastructure
    • Both existing buildings were preserved and joined together with a new canopy in the front of the building and a new common area/lunch room and additional shop floor in the rear of the building
    • Existing trees and landscaping were retained and asphalt was removed at the center of the combined buildings to create a new courtyard with grass, trees and flowers—restoring more of the space to nature
    • A fire door salvaged from the former furniture manufacturer tenant was reclaimed and used at the entrance to one of the company’s main training rooms
  • Recycling of construction waste
    • Demolished cinderblock and asphalt were recycled as well as unused aluminum and steel
    • New uses were found for drywall and furniture not retained from the original building
    • All other construction waste was sorted and recycled wherever possible
  • Use of rapidly renewable, recycled content and durable natural materials
    • Tile and carpet used throughout the facility were overruns and overstocked items purchased from the manufacturer (at reduced pricing) because too much was produced of special order materials and colors—these materials were otherwise destined for a landfill. Carpeting also bears a “green” label, certified to release fewer chemicals and to contain recycled content.
    • Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint was used throughout the building, giving off fewer potentially harmful chemicals (often identified by the “fresh paint” smell)
    • Desks, meeting tables, seating and credenzas were all either recycled or salvaged floor models
  • Addition of improved insulation for reduced energy consumption
    • Thermal foam was added to the roof deck for improved insulation to reduce heating and cooling requirements; cellulose was added over the top for fireproofing in addition to foam and cellulose on the underside of the roof to improve thermal efficiency and sound absorption
    • A mixture of cellulose and recycled paper was applied to ceilings for sound insulation and additional insulation against outside elements
    • Outside walls were insulated and double-glazed windows were added for energy efficiency
    • Large operational windows were installed to allow outside air in, improving indoor air quality and circulation while providing extensive daylight
  • Use of natural day lighting
    • Daylighting systems were added throughout the facility, utilizing prismatic lenses that diffuse natural light and eliminate the direct glare that can result from skylights
    • Where possible, windows were oriented toward more ambient northern lighting which is less fatiguing than highly contrasting, direct southern lighting

Employees provided input throughout the process, much of which resulted in changes and improvements to the reconstruction. “When we asked our employees what they wanted most from the new building, the universal answers were ‘a door to close’ and ‘natural light,’” said Neundorfer. “Closed doors didn’t fit with our business goals and management philosophy oriented around teams and open communication, but we were able to incorporate natural light everywhere as well as some of the other suggestions from our team.” The building process was so well orchestrated that when move-in day arrived in 2005, the whole move took about 1-1/2 hours—employees basically carried their computers and phones and plugged them in at their new workstations. Neundorfer has since completed the second phase of the renovation, revamping the original building with state-of-the-art training and meeting facilities—again using green building practices. The company will use these facilities both for their own use as well as making them available for use by their customers and area businesses.

By preserving and renovating these two existing structures using sustainable building and design practices, Neundorfer has created a physical space and working environment that not only conserves resources but provides a healthier, more nurturing indoor experience for everyone in the company. “This undertaking was a series of little decisions that all added up to an incredible partnership as well as an environmentally sound building, both now and for the future,” said Neundorfer “If every company made similar choices—even smaller companies like ours—the world would be a better place.”

“This approach to building is the wave of the future,” said Carnevale, “Awareness and sensitivity to environmental impact in the building process is definitely increasing.” Doty added, “One business at a time consciously working to reduce its carbon footprint is all it takes to make a significant difference for our environment.”

[To download images in the attached PDF file, visit the Press Room at R.H. Blake, Inc. at http://www.rhblake.com/pressroom.htm.

Company Contact Information
Neundorfer: (440) 942-8990 www.Neundorfer.com
Doty & Miller: (440) 399-4100 www.dotyandmiller.com
Jordan Construction: (440) 232-4157