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Case Study
Case Study
Case Study

Rockford Construction

Bringing the best of sustainability and technology to the office environment.

When Rockford began searching for a new home that would bring us from the suburbs to the downtown area, reuse of the abandoned Miller Products industrial coating plant at 601 First Street presented an opportunity for us to make a difference in one of the great old neighborhoods in Grand Rapids and reflect our commitment to sustainability. The project is on a Brownfield site that occupies one square city block. Extensive remediation and clean-up was required prior to construction. The end result is a modern, attractive building that enhances the surrounding neighborhood in addition to meeting our needs.

For the first time in its history, Rockford’s construction, trades, development, and property management groups all reside under one roof, and on one floor. The office features an abundance of flexible, collaborative work spaces. Our team members can be found working outside in the courtyard or on the roof, plugged into a booth in the Hive break room, or seated comfortably in the large, open Hollow. High-tech conference rooms with video conferencing capabilities support Rockford’s local and national clients.

We utilized an intentional and collaborative design and construction process to meet our goals and objectives related to the Triple Bottom Line. The projecthas achieved LEED Platinum certification. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED promotes sustainable building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance.









There are many components of our project that align with these sustainability principles. The wood walls, staircases, and custom casework were assembled by Rockford Trades from salvaged local ash trees, which were destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer infestation within the City. Other LEED components integrated into the building include a forecasted 41% reduction in energy usage (EAc1: Optimize Energy Performance), a 38% reduction of water use in all fixtures (WEc3: Water Use Reduction), convenient access to multiple bus and shuttle lines (SSc4.1: Alternative Transportation - Public Transportation Access), daylighting in 90% of spaces (EQc8.1: Daylight and Views - Daylight), a green roof, and major reuse of almost 70% of the existing envelope and structural elements (MRc1.1: Building Reuse - Maintain Existing Walls, Floors and Roof).

601 First Street reflects Rockford’s commitment to our community, our capabilities in high-tech sustainable construction, and our ability to work leaner and more collaboratively on behalf of our clients.


Pete Michell

Vice President of Construction