Melink’s second headquarters in Milford, Ohio will be one of the greenest buildings in the world. Not only will it double the office and manufacturing space of our current 30,000 square-feet facility, it will serve as a model on how to design and construct affordable zero-energy buildings (ZEB) of the future. Why is this so important?
Commercial buildings and homes consume over 60% of the
energy in the U.S., and therefore, represent a majority of our country’s carbon
footprint. Though the building industry
is on a path to achieve zero-energy on all new construction by the year 2030,
it will be very difficult to convert the millions of existing buildings to
zero-energy before 2050.
Unfortunately, because of global climate change, we may not
be able to wait that long. We need
cost-effective solutions now. The 17
hottest years on record have occurred over the last 18 years and the trend is
getting worse over time. Climate
disasters from floods to fires are becoming more frequent and severe as a
result. In fact, more and more
scientists are saying this could become an existential threat.
Yes, solar and wind power have gone mainstream over the last
10 years and that is good news. And many
utilities, businesses, schools, and government entities are starting to jump on
the bandwagon. But renewable energy
still only makes up about 20% of our country’s energy mix. Coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear make up
the rest. We need to go from 20% to 80%
renewables within the next 10-20 years.
One way to speed adoption is not wait for fickle governments
and regulated utilities to solve this problem.
It’s time for the business sector to lead and create the clean energy
economy of the 21st Century.
This means small, medium, and large companies like ours need to start
making the necessary investments now.
Together, we can and must wean ourselves from dirty fossil fuels.
To be clear, this is not just about protecting the environment. It’s about saving our planet and life as we
know it. It’s about investing in our
security, health, and economy. Who
doesn’t want to be safe from more natural disasters in the future? Who doesn’t want to be secure from flooding
coastlines and mass human migration? And
who doesn’t want more jobs and long-term economic growth?
Therefore, this epic problem should also be viewed as a tremendous opportunity for humankind to finally work together on something that is bigger than any one person, political party, or country. We can either smartly invest trillions of dollars now … or stupidly pay hundreds of trillions and likely lose millions of lives later. We all know what our children and grandchildren would say.
What does this have to do with our HQ2? Everything.
Our new buidling will not be just another green project to say we ‘walk
the talk’ at Melink. Our building will
be about showing architects, engineers, and contractors how to design and
construct affordable zero-energy buildings of the future. In other words, it will be about helping revolutionize
the building industry for the 21st Century.
How will we accomplish this?
We are going to show that one can invest a small premium of 15-20%
over and above a conventional, code-compliant building, and make it zero-energy. The message being: If Melink can do it, so
can everyone else across the country. I
believe developers, architects, and engineers from across the land will want to
see and hear how we did this. I believe
our customers will want to see and hear how we did this. The return on investment will be too good for
them not to.
How is this different than HQ1?
We invested a slightly larger premium of 25% over and above a conventional, code-compliant building. We also made these investments to an existing building – slowly over time as we could afford them. This project will show we can do it for an even lower premium if we smartly design the building and take advantage of the most recent innovations.
Features will include several of the best ones we incorporated
here in our HQ1. For example, we will
have an even more highly-insulated envelope; we will have the next generation
of window and door systems; and we will have a larger solar canopy over the
While we can’t share too many details at this time because of the proprietary nature of our innovations, we promise we will push the envelope in ways that will make HQ2 one of the most innovative green buildings on the planet. More details will be provided in the near future.
And we will have many other features that won’t necessarily pertain to energy, but will make the building more comfortable and inspiring. For example, we will have more open work spaces, more windows and skylights, and a green wall or water feature. And we will have a museum center to educate visitors on the history of HVAC because to see the future you have to know the past. Last, we will have a spirit wear shop to reward customers with gifts to memorialize their visit.
Timewise, the building will be completed by the end of this year and we plan to hold a grand opening in June 2020 where we can publicize our initial findings from our building.
How are we going to pay for HQ2?
I am taking advantage of what is called a PACE loan to invest in the energy efficiency and renewable energy features of our new building. In essence the capital is provided upfront and paid back over 25-30 years through an assessment on the property taxes. This is a great financing tool that we also want to share with the world.
In conclusion, if we’re not part of the solution, who and what are we? As experts in the building industry, if we don’t help raise the bar, who will and when? We’re certainly not going to rest on past laurels and let the world pass us by. We’re going to lead and make a difference.