Police Station In Cincinnati Becomes World's First With LEED Platinum Certification

When an old police station in Cincinnati was crumbling and created a tough environment to work in, the city created a new energy efficient building. It has become the first of its kind to receive an LEED platinum certification from the USGBC.


May 23 2019, Updated 12:13 p.m. ET

A police district in Cincinnati, Ohio, has been getting a lot of attention and awards since its unveiling a few years ago. Earlier this year, the US Green Building Council awarded it an LEED platinum certification. It now stands as the only police station in the world to get that qualification with a net-zero energy designation.

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Police District 3 was completed back in the summer of 2015 in Cincinnati. The new building replaces the old headquarters that were created back in 1907. Its old structure forced its employees to work in cramped conditions, and the building itself was breaking down over time. Instead of doing a remodeling project, the city decided to opt for an environmentally-friendly new building.

When it comes to construction, over 80 percent of the building was used from construction waste in landfills. The building was created with solar power use in mind -- only a third of the panels needed for a traditional police station were required to fully power Police District 3. Those panels are able to generate 330 kilowatts of energy. 

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Roughly 48 percent less energy is used through the use of LED lights and 30 percent less water when compared to other police stations. It also features enhanced functions such as turning off equipment automatically when not in use. This type of building really sets a high standard in green efficiency when newer establishments are considered.

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The design firm behind the project was emersionDESIGN. They specialize in net-zero energy buildings and they continue to make headlines for this police district. Other work they’ve been noted for are the Cincinnati Art Museum Longworth Wing and the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Both buildings have also been LEED platinum-certified.

Police District 3 scored an 81 out of 110 on the LEED scorecard from the USGBC. It received a 20 out of 26 for being in a sustainable site. Public transportation scored perfectly, although the parking capacity was too high to score positively. They also received a deduction in light pollution reduction. However, it was able to make some of that up with bonus points in design innovation.

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The highest mark came in the energy and atmosphere category, where it optimizes the most it can from energy performance and renewable energy. It also received a high score for indoor environmental quality by using low-emitting materials and “thermal comfort.”

City of Cincinnati’s facilities manager, Joel Koopman, said in a report by Colin Wood of GovTech back in 2015, that savings would be through the roof on the new structure. When compared to a traditional police station, the net-zero building’s utility bill would be roughly a fifth annually. Using his data point of roughly $140,000 per year, that means Police District 3’s electric bills would cost just $28,000 in that same span.


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