If you’re from Birmingham, you probably know about the city’s rich railroad history. On the corner of 20th Street and 1st Avenue South the Seaboard Airline Railroad built their freight depot at the end of the rail line in the near the end of the 19th century. The location was re-discovered by Alagasco nearly 100 years later in the early 1980s, cleaned up, remodeled and opened as a meeting space called the Alagasco Midtown Business Center.
What you might not know is that three years ago, Alagasco decided to completely change the space and make it into something the city had never experienced before. With the changes, Birmingham soon saw the opening of the Alagasco Center for Energy Technology, a sustainable building that is a showcase for the latest and greatest energy solutions for homes and businesses.
We interviewed Steve Roberson, manager of technical services, about the Center for Energy Technology and the changes that were made during the renovation.
The new features of the building are outstanding! Instead of the cold, dark, empty space that the Midtown Center once was, the Center for Energy Technology has floor to ceiling windows, tons of natural light and a spacious open floorplan. The building allows community members to see just what can be done with Natural Gas appliances, and it has unique water heating and air conditioning equipment that use Natural Gas.
So, why is it called the Center for Energy Technology? Well, the building is full of the newest technology focused on “going green.” With efficiency and sustainability in mind, the space includes a condensing boiler, condensing tank water heater, a tankless water heater, gas-fired desiccants and even a Natural Gas heat pump system that both heats and cools the meeting space. The building also houses a commercial demonstration kitchen that contains some of the most efficient Natural Gas cooking equipment available.
And there’s more! When asked what exactly is “green” about this building, Steve didn’t know where to begin—“paint, carpets, wood, bike racks…everything in the building is recycled. Eighty-three percent of the space receives natural daylight, and we even planted shrubs outside that require less water,” he says.
Did any of those fancy machine terms go over your head? Well, the best way to understand the greatness of this building is to go see it for yourself! The building has the honor of being a part of Birmingham’s railroad district and the bragging rights of being Gold LEED certified.
Alagasco doesn’t plan to stop with this building, though. Steve let us know that a space is in the works right now in Anniston, a green project that will incorporate many of the same features as the Center for Energy Technology.
“It will be a LEED best practices building,” Steve says. And, we can’t wait to see it!