Case Studies

White-Spunner Construction Inc.

LEEDing the Southeast in sustainability standards

From New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama and beyond, White-Spunner Construction Inc. (White-Spunner) is a general contracting, construction management and design-build firm going above and beyond traditional standards. The privately-owned firm is licensed in more than 20 states, with a concentration on the southeast, working closely with clients on build-to-suit and design-build projects in an array of markets. From multifamily developments to institutional buildings, manufacturing and processing facilities, shopping centers to health care and even its own headquarters in Mobile, White-Spunner is leading by example, setting the standard in green design and practices.

Since John White-Spunner founded the company in 1981, White-Spunner has excelled throughout the southeast. “John started the company in his ’20s when the company he was working for decided to pursue other interests,” shares Craig Blackburn, senior project manager of White-Spunner. “The opportunity to start his own business presented itself and things took off quickly for John and the new company.”

Craig, whose degree in building construction has seen him through more than 20 years in the industry, says White-Spunner has been ahead of the curve in terms of green building for many years. “We try to stay at the forefront of the green community because there are more opportunities coming along every day,” he says. “We take a step forward by seeking out LEED-certified projects.”

White-Spunner Construction Inc.Leeding by example

In addition to the company’s flagship LEED-certified headquarters in Mobile, White-Spunner has completed a range of recent green projects, from a 263-unit apartment complex in New Orleans – the first LEED Silver-certified apartment building in the state- to the state-of-the-art Gulf Coast Agricultural Seafood Cooperative plant in Bayou La Batre, Alabama.

Today, White-Spunner is licensed in 20 states, but clients need not look far for a prime example of the company’s capabilities. Right at home in Mobile, is White-Spunner’s corporate headquarters; a 40,000-square-foot, two-story office building. LEED features incorporated in the construction of the showcase headquarters include an open floor plan with tinted windows, numerous skylights, large windows, heat-sensitive lighting, water-efficient systems and the use of recycled materials.

“Our office is the first LEED-certified building in southern Alabama,” reveals John White-Spunner, president and CEO. “It was incredibly educational and rewarding to do something new that’s never been done before in this portion of our state. This building uses 60 percent less power than our previous facility, but it’s more than just dollars and cents.”

John says the benefits of LEED construction span far beyond the costs savings over time. “We discovered some benefits we didn’t expect, such as improved working relationships with people inside the facilities,” he explains. “More sunlight and improved air quality make for an overall healthier working environment. It’s not just then energy savings; it’s providing a healthier place for people to work because in reality, it’s where we spend most of our time.”

Since completing the main facility, White-Spunner has also performed a complete lighting retrofit on its parking lot. “We’ve installed high efficiency LED lighting and now we’re using 15 percent of the power we were consuming before,” adds Craig.

Green by nature

Just south of its own facility is another shining example of how White-Spunner is helping pave the way for groundbreaking facilities in the sustainability sector. The Gulf Coast Agricultural Seafood Cooperative plant in Bayou La Batre boasts numerous green features and the $6 million, 13,000-square-foot facility is inherently green in its process by recycling 5,900 tons of shrimp and crab seafood waste annually.

The facility is one of the only industrial sites in the state to be LEED certified. During peak seafood season, cooperative members pay to have 100 cubic yards of crab and shrimp waste hauled to landfills daily, but the new plant now processes, dehydrates and converts seafood waste into marketable products such as animal feed, organic fertilizer and even pottery.

“The plant employs cost effective and innovative environmental engineering through renewable energy sources, including solar and geothermal energy,” shares Craig. “It does not discharge process waste water into the environment and it uses solar collectors, which heat an anaerobic digester that processes the seafood waste.”

“The facility also utilizes geothermal heating through a ground source,” adds Craig. “It has a biomass odor control filter that biologically removes odor and contains it within the building.” Other special structure features include aerobic lagoons, bio-filters, concrete and steel retention tanks, methane gas bladders, candlestick flares and wetland restorations.

“This project was quite challenging,” shares John. “From the beginning, we had to work with the managers and designers because an industrial site of this nature had never really been designed before. It was a full-team operation.”

Savings that makes sense

From industrial sites to college campuses and innovative urban residential developments, John says White-Spunner is committed to LEED construction because it’s a win-win for all parties. “While there are more government LEED projects being released it’s also picking up in the private industry because the bottom line is saving energy is the best thing for the country; even competitors can agree on this,” he says.

In rallying other companies in the effort, White-Spunner has even utilized its own facility as a green building teaching example. “We’ve given competitors tours of our building and showed them the energy savings because it’s just the right thing to do,” he adds. “As an industry, it’s our job to take it to the next level to help the environment and the longevity of our healthy communities.”

White-Spunner Construction Inc. is leading the way, taking steps in the right direction with LEED project after project and general contracting, construction management and design-build driven to go above and beyond.

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