Konami Gaming’s Las Vegas headquarters will be expanding to more than twice its current operating size to accommodate increased production and consolidate its operations. Companies usually can’t foresee future growth, and Konami, one of the gambling industry’s top five slot-machine manufacturers, recently has seen a tremendous increase in demand. Because of its current facility’s size, most of the company’s storage is handled off-site, but the addition will streamline Konami’s operations, reducing energy consumption. The almost 123,000-square-foot facility will be supplemented with office space and conference rooms to house the sales team and the company’s research and development arm, which, because of space constraints, also currently is housed off-site.
Geothermal wells at Konami’s new facility
Originally, Konami aimed for a base LEED certification, but when it hired Ethos Three Architecture, the local design firm brought in plans for a geothermal system, and the company found itself on the edge of LEED Silver. With 177 six-inch diameter wells pumping water 375 feet deep for geothermal energy, the system will cut 35 percent of the structure’s energy costs. “The original building, though efficient at the time, did not have a lot of the LEED requirements addressed,” says Ray Newmiller, vice president of pre-construction at Martin-Harris Construction, which performed a cost-benefit analysis for various project components.
“We’re redoing the existing system—both the lighting and HVAC system,” says John Lopeman, cofounder of Ethos Three. “That’s a complete retrofit—taking the existing structure that wasn’t really designed to be expanded or LEED certified and expanding and making it certified.” All the lighting will be redone with LEDs, reducing energy use by an additional 15 percent and roughly halving the existing facility’s energy use when combined with the geothermal.
Besides these new systems, FSC-certified wood, low-VOC finishes, and regional and recycled materials will lend to the LEED certification, and the building itself contains recycled concrete and steel. Although it did not earn any additional LEED points, extensive daylighting was employed for the facility’s office spaces, but a storage mezzanine stymied similar daylight levels in production areas.
Bringing these sustainable attributes to the building was not the only challenge in creating the four-story complex. Konami sought to continue operations throughout the project, and in order to create a seamless transition, the two-year plan is to build a shell building of the new expansion before migrating equipment to larger areas. This includes having to replicate some production facilities so employees can switch building sides while remodeling must take place. As Daniel Ballard, Ethos Three’s principal for the project, explains, “We have to thread the needle to make sure we can find that slowest time and move very quickly to get them operational and ensure there’s no downtime.”