Construction companies understand the need to create energy-efficient buildings and are turning to construction software to help in the design process.

Mars Chocolate North America manufacturing facility in Topeka, Kan., working closely with CRB,, Kansas City, Mo., a global consulting, design, and construction services firm, has earned LEED-Gold (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification.

Dating back to 2010, CRB has worked with Mars Chocolate North America,, Hackettstown, N.J., to successfully complete the preliminary and detailed architectural and engineering design for a $270 million, roughly 500,000-sq.ft manufacturing facility.

“We’re proud that this state-of-the-art site engages cutting-edge environmental standards, setting an example for others to follow,” says Bret Spangler, site director of Topeka, Mars Chocolate North America. “Mars is committed to putting our principles into action to drive leadership in sustainability. LEED-Gold certification for the Topeka facility is another shining example of our ambitious goal to make our factories and offices ‘sustainable in a generation.’”

To become LEED-Gold certified, the project needed to meet some pretty strict requirements. To fulfill those standards, the site incorporates several sustainable systems and features, which includes state-of-the-art heat-recovery systems, rain water harvesting for sewage transfer in the office area, and for landscape irrigation, low-flow water fixtures, energy-efficient lighting, reusing /recycling building materials, etc.

“The entire design was modeled using Revit Arch and MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) for detailed on-board reviews and construction drawings generated from the design model,” explains Jeff Matis, CRB project manager, Mars Chocolate North America. “Initial construction was fast-tracked with phased issuance of work, allowing major building elements to be erected concurrent with design. The on-board model reviews were critical to ensure that all work issued in phases was coordinated and work still to be issued was understood and planned for by the construction manager and contracting community.”

Matis adds, “As the construction trades developed detailed fabrication models of their work, not only did the construction manager coordinate through the usual construction coordination model built as the work was contracted, but these contractor models were incorporated back into the design model to ensure conformity and approval of changes in location and approach with work not yet contracted and future expansion design.”

CRB completed the detailed design and construction support with the responsibility for all architectural and engineering design disciplines.

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