When Willmeng Construction wrapped up work on the Northrop Grumman Launch Vehicles Division Headquarters in Chandler, Arizona, the firm knew it had completed a masterpiece. The look of the 633,000 square foot facility was unique and unprecedented in the market. The developer, Douglas Allred Company, and the user were thrilled with their shiny new facility. The facility winning numerous industry awards has reinforced those feelings.
Now more than a year removed from the October 2019 grand opening, the Northrop Grumman facility continues to get more and more impressive. The function of the facility has been precisely what the client ordered. In addition, some of the systems and materials that the building team installed are starting to steal the show.
Located in the heart of Chandler’s business corridor, the facility is situated on 45 acres of land. It is one of the largest custom build-to-suit facilities in the western United States and includes engineering, testing, manufacturing and office spaces where more than 2,400 employees work. Despite the demands that the employees put on the facility’s utilities, it has become the model of efficiency and sustainability.
Northrop Grumman Water conservation
Water conservation was a huge focus of the design and construction. The facility includes automatic sinks — which use 30 to 40 percent less water than traditional sinks — and low flow, no tank toilets. Northrop Grumman captures, filters and evaporates water used in production reducing waste volume by 90 percent. To date, the facility has saved more than one million gallons of water.
Optimizing electricity is another important goal for the site. Since its opening in October of 2019, the amount of employees in the facility has doubled, but they are using 30 percent less power than Northrup Grumman’s previous locations in the Valley.
Some of the energy-saving technologies installed by the build team include high-efficiency chillers and boilers, a humidification system, R30 Roofing System (which uses thicker insulation than typical roofs, meaning less heat transfer and improved temperature control), and all LED lighting with a Lutron Lighting control system. This highly energy-efficient plant — which is designed well above the International Energy Codes — also includes a Building Automation System. As well as an intelligent system of both hardware and software that connects the heating, venting and air conditioning system, lighting, security and other systems to communicate on a single platform.
Northrop Grumman is sunlight conscious
Another interesting and unique energy-efficient feature in the Northrop Grumman building that seems counter-intuitive is that the main building faces directly into the blazing sun. The facility faces west and, during the Winter Solstice, the sun sets exactly in the center of the office building. This allows the glass-covered building to absorb as much natural sunlight as possible. The glass deters heat during the summer months through a special design. It is a double pane and low emissive glass, which traps heat and stops it from radiating throughout the facility.
What the glass does let in is natural light, which is abundant throughout the campus. The views of the surrounding outdoor spaces have benefits beyond sustainability. According to a recent study at Cornell University, natural light increases productivity and satisfaction. All while reducing issues such as headaches, eye strain and blurred vision by 84 percent.
This natural lighting funnels through the large amounts of windows, allowing for a better work environment. The building simultaneously utilizes heat-reduction technology to block the intense heat from entering the building.
While not currently equipped, Willmeng pre-wired the parking lot for a photovoltaic array field.
This year, Northrop Grumman’s Chandler, Arizona campus received three awards from the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks. They received awards in the categories of Economic Development, Office Build to Suit and Industrial Build to Suit.