What Life Is like Working in the Perfect Office Building

Sitting just off Inter­state 35 south of San Marcos, Texas is one of the most efficient, safe, healthy, and com­fort­able office buildings in the entire State of Texas. As one of the first buildings con­struct­ed using the Bautex Block Wall System, our office is the best case study for demon­strat­ing the per­for­mance and benefits of the Bautex Block walls.

Completed in the spring of 2014, this single story 3,900 square foot building has expe­ri­enced the typical Texas extremes of prolonged drought, tor­ren­tial rains, ice storms, and even snow. Shortly after we moved into the building in May 2014, an energy mon­i­tor­ing system was installed in order to track the real-time energy usage and overall cost of powering the building.

Specif­i­cal­ly, we wanted to collect data on the heating, ven­ti­la­tion, and air con­di­tion­ing system (HVAC) separate of all other elec­tri­cal loads. Prior to con­struc­tion, two different energy models were conducted to determine the projected heating and cooling cost of a baseline tra­di­tion­al wood frame building compared to one con­struct­ed using the Bautex Wall System. The model predicted a $385 per month heating and cooling cost for the wood frame building, and $125 per month for the Bautex Block building — a $260 per month savings (67.5% reduction)!

After four years in the building, we have been averaging $123 per month in heating and cooling costs and $243 per month in total energy costs. This includes a full server closet, employees, computers, lights, hot water heater and a kitchen. The office has a large open volume with 14’ wall heights and drop ceiling.

A Better Work Experience

The thermal per­for­mance of the wall system and building as a whole is not just expe­ri­enced through lower elec­tric­i­ty bills, but through direct expe­ri­ence. For example, the office was closed for a long and par­tic­u­lar­ly cold weekend over the New Year holiday and the HVAC system was acci­den­tal­ly set to Emergency Heat, which means that the system would not turn on until the ther­mo­stat in the building got into the 30’s. The morning when everyone returned to the office, we found that the interior of the building had not fallen below 67 degrees despite outdoor tem­per­a­tures spending most of the time below freezing.

Likewise, during the hot summer months, the ther­mo­stat is set to 80 degrees over the weekend. On Monday mornings when everyone gets back at work, the tem­per­a­ture inside the building remains 76 degrees, and the air con­di­tion­ing system hasn’t run all weekend.

While the extreme energy effi­cien­cy of the building is great, the sound reducing prop­er­ties are one of our favorite aspects of the office. The interior is sur­pris­ing­ly quiet even though we’re so close to the Inter­state and our noisy man­u­fac­tur­ing oper­a­tions are just 10 feet directly behind the office building. The sound reducing prop­er­ties of the Bautex Block are evident the moment you first walk through the front door. Visitors often take a second to process what is different once they enter the building. A high sound trans­mis­sion class (STC) rating is easily mea­sur­able, but the actual expe­ri­ence is difficult for people to describe. It makes for a calm and peaceful space to work in despite the highway traffic and the rumble of Bautex Block being man­u­fac­tured just feet away.

Chris Leonard, Director of Oper­a­tions and Technical Services at Bautex, noted, When I come inside from the man­u­fac­tur­ing facility and the door shuts behind me, the quietness of the office is something I look forward too. It allows you to not be dis­tract­ed by outside noise and to focus on what you’re working on.”

Are You Ready for The Bautex Experience?

As a building materials man­u­fac­tur­er, we knew we were going to have a chance to eat our own cooking” by building our office using our insulated concrete wall system. And while we had all par­tic­i­pat­ed in the devel­op­ment of the product and the product testing program, we were all still pleas­ant­ly surprised at the quality of expe­ri­ence the Bautex Block Wall System provides to building occupants. Energy savings are fantastic, but the quiet and com­fort­able interior spaces create a wonderful envi­ron­ment in which to work.

If you are ready for the Bautex Expe­ri­ence for yourself, check out our website at www​.bau​texsys​tems​.com or just stop by the office next time you are in Central Texas. We would love to give you a tour so you can expe­ri­ence Bautex first hand.