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Sustainability case study
The redevelopment of Nashville’s West Riverfront Park was a truly unique and challenging project. The park became the site of many firsts for the City of Nashville. Having been coined Music City’s “front porch,” this urban renewal of a former thermal plant is the first phase of the new riverfront redevelopment for the city. Major components of the redevelopment include: 1.5-acre Ascend Amphitheater with capacity for up to 6,800 people, redevelopment of 1st Avenue, over one mile of multi-use greenway trails, Nashville’s first downtown dog park and ornamental gardens. Several custom designed items, such as large-scale precast decorative swings located around the park’s perimeter, are the result of a collaborative effort between Skanska and the design team. Other unique features include a 45-foot tall sculpture titled “Light Meander” that mimics the nearby Cumberland River’s flow through Davidson County and the Betty Brown Tree Trail that includes 225 individual trees representing 43 different species, earning Level 1 arboretum status. Another first for Nashville is the Ascend Amphitheater’s open band shell that allows spectators to view downtown Nashville through its opening. Ascend also contains an electronic band shell that allows an orchestra to play in an outdoor environment by using many small microphones to simulate an indoor performance. The Nashville Symphony spent three days at Ascend with the acoustic designer/tuner to perfect the sound. This is only one of a few facilities in the world with this capability.
Innovation, in both sustainability and diversity, were also pioneered on West Riverfront Park. The project was originally designed to achieve LEED Silver certification, but Skanska secured enough LEED points during construction to achieve LEED Gold. The park uses 22 percent less energy than the LEED energy baseline on average. Approximately six percent of its energy needs are met by onsite renewable geothermal and solar energy generation systems. It’s also designed to use around 30 percent less potable water than the LEED baseline, and a rainwater harvesting system was installed. Design features promote biodiversity, reduce the risk of flooding in downtown Nashville and encourage more sustainable modes of transport by creating an important link in Nashville’s walking and cycling greenway network. During construction, the project succeeded in diverting 88 percent of construction waste from landfills. The project also achieved one LEED point for hiring Skanska because our environmental, health and safety management program is certified to ISO 14001 standards.
Shelby AdamsSr Director, Communications MidwestSkanska USA Inc.+1 972 281 6451
E-mail Shelby Adams
Market segment: Recreational
Academy of Country Music Industry Award for Venue of the Year, Medium Capacity
Associated General Contractor’s National Alliant Build America Award for Environmental Enhancement
The amphitheater building is equipped withthree interior recycling stations and two exterior recycling dumpsters in the loading dock. The ticketing and food preparation areas also have large recycling stations. Recycling facilities are designed to receive paper, cardboard, glass, metal and plastics.
The park is designed to use around 30 percentless potable water than the LEED baseline for the site. The amphitheater building is equipped withwater efficient and low-flow bathroom fixtures. A rainwater harvesting system ensures that no potable water is used for irrigation. Local and native plants and grasses have also been used in the landscaped areas to reduce the demand for irrigation.
The site has a rainwater harvesting system that collects rainwater from the amphitheatre building and the surrounding hardscape into a 1,500 m3 underground rainwater cistern under the artist wing. The system supplies water to the nighttime irrigation system, and is topped up with groundwater via pumps during periods of low rainfall but when irrigation is required. The park also has a 190 m2 rain garden to allow excess stormwater to infiltrate the ground and reduce stormwater runoff.
Other Green Aspects
Reducing local environmental impacts during construction
The project is adjacent to the Cumberland River,and measures were taken to minimize soil erosion and the possible sedimentation of waterway.Biweekly soil erosion inspections were carried outat least 72 hours apart and rainfall was monitored on a daily basis. Soil erosion and sedimentation were part of worker training, and corrective action was required following maintenance checks and observed deviations from approved practice. Erosion control measures included rain inlet protection and silt fence socks around the perimeter of the site, which allow water to flow through while trapping silt.
Other measures included a wheel wash at the construction entrance/exit, temporary sediment basins and dust control measures. Risks associated with oil spills were mitigated byusing designated refueling stations situated away from drains and watercourses, not storing bulk fuel on site, and regular equipment inspections and maintenance. Spill cleanup kits were located in the Skanska project office, and all subcontractors with equipment onsite were required to have their ownspill kits. A Master Chemical Inventory List specific to the project was kept and updated regularly. Paintbrushes were washed in a designated area and rinsewater contained and disposed of properly.The team also worked to reduce the energy they used on site during construction. For example, energy efficient project lighting was used throughout the site and programmable thermostatswere installed in the Skanska office along with a power down function, which allowed lighting, office equipment and heating to be switched off at night and over the weekend when possible.
The amphitheatre building has 325 m2 of sedum green roofing in total over the back stage area and the ticketing booth. Green roofing provides additional thermal insulation and extends the roof ’s lifespan by protecting it from weathering and UVlight. In addition, roof vegetation can filter airborne pollution and reduce stormwater runoff.
225 trees have been planted in the park, including 36 different species to promote biodiversity and avaried habitat for urban wildlife. The park is in the process of achieving the status as an arboretum, which requires an exhibit of at least 30 differenttree species according to the Tennessee arboretum standard.
The park is at the risk of flooding from the adjacent Cumberland River. Phase 1 of the Riverfront ParkRedevelopment has an integrated flood mitigationwall that is designed to protect parts of downtown Nashville against 500-year flood events. The wall consists of a below-grade seepage cut-offwall that is 2.5 to 10.5 m in depth and has been constructed along the full length of the park. The flood mitigation wall is designed to significantly slow down the underground movement of water in the event of a flood in downtown Nashville. Less than 1 m of the wall is above ground and forms a decorative garden and seat wall capped in limestone.
The Nashville Metro Council held over 250 meetings with local community groups during the planning of the project. The park was consequently designed to create an enjoyable space in downtown Nashville for people of all ages and interests.
Local economic benefits
Over 1,500 people worked on the construction site, and the majority of the workforce was from the Nashville area. Around 75 percent of the project’s subcontractors by value were based locally.
Diversified Business Enterprise (DBE) program
Skanska ran a successful DBE program, which hired minority-owned, women-owned and small businesses as subcontractors and vendors for a significant proportion of the project expenditure.The project had the minimum DBE requirement of 20 percent, which was greatly exceeded at 36 percent. The team worked closely with the local authorities to identify DBE firms early in the project, and organized outreach events to meet and encourage DBE companies to support the Riverfront Park project. Major DBE firms included the steel and electrical companies. Skanska also successfully implemented Metro's cancelled check process by working directly with subcontractors to collect invoices and cancelled checks to ensure that every DBE received the amounts discussed in their contract.
There were no lost time accidents on the project. The team had a very strong Injury Free Environment® (IFE®) culture. IFE is a cultural aspect of Skanska’s safety program, which promotes a work environment intolerant of injuries and incidents and goes beyond standard safety practice in the USA. Various IFE orientations and training sessions were held for Skanska and subcontractor workers, as well as IFE Supervisor Skills training. One employee was recognized each month for safety excellence and the team had a project board where everyone posted photographs of their families, which served as a reminder of the importance of returning home safely. Other health and safety initiatives included ‘stretch and flex’ sessions every morning to warm up before work followed by coordination team meetings and pre-task planning, which included safety considerations, before commencing particular tasks.
• Greatly exceeded the project's DiversityParticipation Goal of 20% project expenditure made to minority-owned, female-owned andsmall businesses
• Reduced utility bills throughout the project lifespan