Small Washington EC Tackles WELL-Certified Credit Union Project

HAPO Credit Union
Photo credit: Momentum Inc.

The HAPO Community Credit Union, with branches in Washington and Oregon, recently opened its 18th location in Vancouver, Wash., which achieved the WELL Building Standard certification, becoming the first credit union in the world to achieve this designation.

The WELL Building Standard, created in 2014 by the International WELL Building Institute, expands on LEED certification. Beyond assessing how sustainable a building itself is, it focuses on the health, well-being, and comfort of the occupants of the building. There are seven categories of building performance in the WELL Building Standard: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

Achieving WELL certification requires coordination of all parties involved in the project during preconstruction, design and construction. Momentum, the design-builder and general contractor for the project, selected Longview, Wash.-based Busack Electric to handle the electrical portion of the project.

"We were responsible for 100 percent of the electrical on the project, including power, lighting, and on-site power distribution," said Andy Busack, owner.

The work included the installation of a low-voltage lighting control system provided by Acuity Brands, as well as the installation of a 60kW standby generator.

In addition to electrical work inside the credit union, Busack ended up doing additional work outside, which was required by the City of Vancouver, since the facility was built on undeveloped property.

"The outside work involved improvements to the street lighting on the adjacent streets, and improvements to the traffic signals and crosswalks at the intersections," Busack said.

Inside the HAPO Credit Union
Photo credit: Momentum Inc.

While there was nothing new for Busack Electric in terms of any of the electrical work itself, what was new for them were the WELL requirements.

"We have done a considerable number of LEED projects, but this was our very first WELL project," he said. "Meeting the requirements of WELL didn't pose any particular challenges for us, but understanding the requirements in the first place was new for all of us, including the general contractor and the construction team in general."

Busack's role in meeting WELL requirements related to the lighting in specific.

"While we had no problem with the lighting end of the project, it was pretty exciting for us, as a mom and pop firm, to know that our hands were involved in work for the first-of-its-kind credit union in the world," he said. "Another exciting thing for us was that the credit union ended up winning an award [the National Award of Merit for Commercial Buildings] from the Design-Build Institute of America."

It is proof that an electrical contractor doesn't need to big in order to make a big splash.

HAPO Credit Union
Photo credit: Momentum Inc.

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