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CONSOL Energy Center Strikes LEED Gold

Mon September 27, 2010 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

When the Pittsburgh Penguins begin their season on Oct. 7, it will be in their brand new arena, the CONSOL Energy Center. It was recently announced that the building achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification, making it the first NHL arena to reach that standard. The CONSOL Energy project achieved 42 points under the system, and a minimum of 39 points is required for the certification.

“The Penguins and the Sports & Exhibition Authority (SEA) were committed to having a LEED building form the start of this project, and early on we realized that we had a chance to go for LEED Gold,” said Ken Sawyer, Penguins CEO. “Thanks to the tremendous work and support of our design and construction partners and local and state political leaders, we are proud to have CONSOL Energy Center designated as the first LEED Gold arena in the NHL.”

The Center received nine points for sustainable sites, nine for indoor environmental quality, eight for energy and atmosphere, seven for materials and resources, five for innovation in design and four for water efficiency.

“CONSOL Energy Center’s LEED Gold Certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and CONSOL Energy Center serves as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish.”

The overall cost of the CONSOL project was $320 million. Funding was provided by the Pittsburgh Penguins; Rivers Casino, which was the successful Pittsburgh slots bidder; and from a state economic development and tourism fund.

Work began on Aug. 1, 2008. The prime contractor was a Joint Venture of P.J. Dick and Hunt Construction Group. John Cook served as the contract manager, C.L. Cross was the project executive, and Walt Czekaj was the director of field operations. CONSOL Energy purchased the naming rights in 2008.

The contract called for a 720,000-sq.-ft. (66,890 sq m) multi-purpose arena that would serve as home to the Pittsburgh Penguins with seating for more than 18,000 for hockey games.

“The site, with a grade change of nearly 80 feet from the highest point of the site to the lowest, made for some interesting challenges during the foundation and super-structural stages of the project,” said Cook. “Additional challenges were the construction of a rectory to the northwest of the arena, the construction of a parking garage directly to the east of the arena, the construction of a hotel to the northeast of the arena, general access to the project site, inclusion of an additional parking/staging area that was added to the project in the late stages, and building the structure in an urban setting.”

In addition to the challenges mentioned, four different types of deep foundations were used on the project, including geo piers, drilled caissons, CLSM fill and spread footings.

Throughout the project, a total of approximately 3,000 workers were assigned at various times. The project included 21,000 total cu. yds. (16,056 cu m) of concrete, 13,000 (9,939 cu m) in the foundations and 8,000 (6,116 cu m) in the balance; 80,000 total cu. yds. (61,164 cu m) of excavation, 50,000 (38,228 cu m) of which was hauled off and 30,000 (22,937 cu m) was reused as fill; 7,200 tons (6,532 t) of structure steel, which included 1,600 (1,451 t) in the roof; 90,000 sq. ft. (8,361 sq m) of concrete block; 90,000 sq. ft. (8,361 sq m) of exterior metal panels; 5,500 sq. ft. (511 sq m) of aluminum curtain wall, 740 panes of glass at 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall and 12 in. (30.5 cm) wide (only two were reportedly broken during the installation); and 10 mi. (16 km) of 1.25-in. (3.2 cm) welded black iron pipe under the ice floor.

Major equipment used on the job included a Triple 8 200-ton (181.4 t) crawler crane, a Liebherr 1,250 300-ton (272 t) crane, a Schwing 32 concrete pumper truck, a 200-ton De-Mag, a 134-ft. (41 m) articulating boom lift, a 150-ft. (45.7 m) articulating boom lift, and a 95-ft. (29 m) spider lift that was designed to fit through a 3-ft. (.9 m) wide door and hold a total weight of 450 lbs. (204 kg).

The CONSOL Energy Center held an open house for the general public on Aug. 28. For a $5 donation to the Penguins Foundation, guests could tour the arena and explore the interactive areas, including the Trib Total Media Penguins All-Time Team Zone and the Highmark Kids Zone. The first concert at the center, also in August, was Paul McCartney.

The CONSOL Energy Center also will be the home of The Pittsburgh Power, an arena football team that will begin play in April 2011.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ former home was across the street in the Mellon Arena, which first opened in 1961 as the Civic Arena. The $22 million arena was originally constructed for use by the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. It became the home of the Penguins in the fall of 1967. In December 1999, the Penguins signed an $18 million, 10-year agreement to rename the arena after a Pittsburgh-based bank.

The Mellon Arena is famous for its architectural design, which featured the largest retractable stainless steel dome roof in the world. It was 170,000 total sq. ft. (15,793 sq m) and contained 2,950 tons (2,676 t) of Pittsburgh steel. The roof has no interior supports and is divided radially into eight leaves and is supported by a cantilever arm that arches 260 ft. (79.2 m).

The final concert at the Mellon Arena was held in June and involved Carol King and James Taylor. At press time, the final fate of the building was undecided. CEG

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