Windsor Backup Control Center receives gold-level LEED certification

ISO New England’s commitment to sustainable facilities continues with the new backup control center (BCC) in Windsor, Connecticut. The BCC, which began construction in 2013 and became operational earlier this year, has been awarded LEED® Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

In 2007, the ISO’s two-building campus in Holyoke, MA, was the first commercial corporate headquarters in New England to be awarded Gold-level certification from the USGBC in the LEED v2.2 program. Gold certification is one of the highest possible LEED ratings.

Achieving LEED certification

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is the foremost program for buildings, homes, and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

“We used the LEED rating system as a guiding principle in every stage of the BCC’s design,” said Robert Ludlow, ISO New England Vice President and Chief Financial and Compliance Officer. “The return on investment through long-term energy savings and health promotion was in line with both our responsibilities to New England as its Regional Transmission Organization and to the staff of ISO employees working at the BCC full-time as their employer.”

Sustainable design

One of the most challenging aspects of meeting sustainability criteria for the BCC was related to the high energy demand from the data center necessary for supporting continuous operation of all grid, markets, and settlements functions during an emergency event at the ISO’s main campus. The installation of an 84 kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system was one strategy used to help achieve LEED-required low energy consumption. The PV system will generate an estimated 115,553 kilowatt-hour per year—6.52% of the BCC’s annual estimated electricity usage and roughly equivalent to $16,755.00 of electricity costs per year.

Energy consumption was further minimized by selecting high-performance mechanical and electrical systems, such as advanced variable volume computer room air conditioning units for the data center; CO2 sensing demand-controlled ventilation system controls in the office area; and installing occupancy sensor light switches in all rooms.

Finding ways to have the BCC use less energy was just one aspect of sustainable design. Other elements include:

  • Using 31.3% regional and 29.5% recycled materials
  • Stormwater quantity and quality control
  • Using low-VOC emitting materials
  • Light pollution reduction
  • Locating the facility within walking distance from public transportation
  • Preferred parking set aside for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles

See the Environmental Commitment webpage to learn more about the ISO’s green initiatives. To learn more about the BCC’s purpose and development process, read ISO-NE welcomes Connecticut government officials to new Windsor Backup Control Center.

Inside ISO New England