The Sanford-Kimpton Building, where the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services is currently located, actually used to be a grocery store. Nowells, a family owned and operated grocery store, opened its first store in Columbia in 1957 on Worley Street where the Sanford-Kimpton building is today. The Health Department chose the abandoned grocery store as their new location in 2004 to better serve the needs of their clients.More
The Department was previously located downtown, not convenient to a bus stop and with services spread throughout a three story building. Stephanie Browning, Director, recalls seeing mothers with toddlers and babies having to find a parking spot in the limited spaces downtown, juggle their purses, wallets, and children to pay the meter, and then walk through the maze of offices to find where they were going. Moving into the Sanford-Kimpton building meant having a large lot for clients to park, a location directly on a transit line for those who take advantage of public transportation, and combining services with the County for a one-stop-shop for busy families.Less
The City of Columbia had an engineering firm complete energy assessments for all City-owned facilities in 2010 as part of their Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG). The energy assessment for the grocery-store-turned-Health and Human Services building highlighted two energy conservation measures (ECMs), a complete recommissioning of the HVAC systems and lighting retrofits, which would have a quick return on investment and improve the building’s comfort.More
These ECMs had the potential to save the City money on utility costs but also to improve the comfort of employees and visitors to the Health department. Columbia had EECBG funds to complete the suggested ECMs. The combined simple payback period was five years.
For the lighting retrofit, the City had some initial internal concern over changing the quality of the lights. To address this, they put up a few samples of the proposed lights with wall signage highlighting them and requesting feedback. They received no negative responses from employees and encouraging words on the efficiency effort from most.
One of the biggest lessons learned for the City was on the importance of training. Both training employees on how to use the thermostats AND training of the maintenance staff on how to maintain the systems.Less
The project facilitated notable improvements to employee and client comfort. Director Stephanie Browning remembers before the retrofits there would be places in the building where employees would wear jackets because of the uncomfortable and unstable temperatures. Sometimes, those same areas of the building were clinic rooms where parents would have to undress their children for their examination. She notes how the retrocommissioning of the HVAC system has improved and leveled out the temperature throughout the facility.More
Browning also talks about the lighting before the retrofits, she recalled, “The lights were so bright before, you would feel fatigued at the end of the day. Now it is much better”.
In addition, operations have become easier and more cost efficient, not only because of the energy they are saving but also due to the reduced maintenance time required to switch out lightbulbs, which now light much longer than the inefficient bulbs.
The Sanford-Kimpton building is one of the most publicly visited City facilities with over 100,000 visitors every year. They are committed to a number of sustainable practices in addition to energy conservation, including growing produce for the WIC clinic in their on-site community garden.Less