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Corps’ Omaha District spotlights energy efficient, environmentally sustainable headquarters for 50th anniversary of Earth Day

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District
Published April 22, 2020
Updated: April 22, 2020
The renovated Edward Zorinksy Federal Building, Omaha, Nebraska April 22, 2016.

The renovated Edward Zorinksy Federal Building, Omaha, Nebraska April 22, 2016.

The Edward Zorinksy Federal Building under renovation, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005.

The Edward Zorinksy Federal Building under renovation, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005.

Built in 1958, the original Zorinsky Building, home to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District’s headquarters, was erected  before the modern world embraced the environmental movement. Since the first Earth Day in 1970,  renovations to the 432,000 square-foot building managed by the Government Services Administration have been implemented based on the standards and criteria of the U.S. Green Council’s Sustainability Program to make the building more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

The last major renovation was a six-year project completed in 2008.

Emphasizing the value of its partnership and collaboration with the Corps in creating a sustainable future, GSA Public Building Service Manager, Terry Morgan expressed the organization’s commitment to providing USACE and other building tenants with a comfortable and environmentally efficient work environment, but constantly evaluating the building in alignment with new standard of the U.S. Green Council.  

“Even though we’ve done major renovations, we are constantly looking to improve the building’s efficiency, safety, and sustainability,”Morgan said. “Things that were originally designed, and the time may have been standard practices, but during our evaluations we may find out something may cause more problems, so we see what we can do to make help it run more efficiently.”

Some of the renovations that have implemented over the years include:

  • Energy saving features: a three-story atrium and a four-foot-wide natural light corridor (windows). Exterior lighting shelves reflect sunlight into the building’s core at the ceiling level, while controlling glare from entering the building
  • Each floor has its own air handling unit to manage each floors’ HVAC and automation system
  • Ability to capture the cool air from the environment instead of a method that would use energy
  • Automatic sensors in the bathroom and low flow toilets
  • Installation of sun-shelves and sun-shade devices at exterior windows
  • Use of recyclable and recycled renovation materials from
  • Rooftop rainwater collection as greywater to flush toilets, photo-voltaic rooftop solar collectors, and installation of a highly energy efficient HVAC system.
  • Replacement of windows with energy-efficient windows

More recently a USACE employee suggested having a bike at the building to decrease the carbon footprint and GSA immediately implemented the idea.

Currently, the building houses approximately 1,200 workers with the Omaha District as the largest tenant, having a presence on seven of the nine floors.

Watch the video on YouTube here: