Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority's customer service center is a 7000sf building structure demonstrating practical sustainable design strategies for the Florida Keys environment.
The 2.25 acre site is a low lying property with an average grade elevation of 4.0 feet above mean sea level. A portion of the site fronts on a navigable manmade waterway with ocean access. The site is located in a high velocity hurricane zone and subject to possible storm surge action. It is heavily wooded with invasive exotic plants and some native plants including red mangrove, buttonwood, and black ironwood. Approximately 10% of the site is an active wetlands environment.
The building is sited to minimize site disturbance and enhance wetlands restoration. It is oriented to take advantage of north elevation glazing and to discourage east and west elevation heat gain. The building is configured to reduce site consumption, mitigate storm surge action, and provide significant sun control on its south elevation.
The project is tracking a LEED Platinum Level Certification. Key among the sustainable design strategies made part of the project are a rainwater/condensate water collection and storage cistern for landscape irrigation and building waste conveyance; a vegetated rooftop for heat gain control; and an on-site photovoltaic renewable energy system contributing to an overall annual energy cost savings of 25% or more.
The building is a direct response to the Florida Keys’ historic concern for energy and water efficiency. It will be used as a teaching tool for visitors and customers that frequent the facility; demonstrating sustainability, survivability, and a responsible ‘new generation’ expression of Florida Keys architecture.