United States Breaks Ground On New Embassy Compound in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

In an important symbol of our enduring friendship with the Dominican Republic, Dominican Republic President, Leonel Fernandez; U.S. Ambassador to the Domincan Republic, Raul H. Yzaguirre; and Leo Hession, Managing Director for Operations of the Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), broke ground on the New Embassy Compound (NEC) in Santo Domingo today.

Situated on a 16-acre site, the multi-building complex will include a chancery, compound access controls, a support annex, and Marine security guard quarters.  When completed, the new complex will provide approximately 700 embassy employees with a state of the art workspace.

The building design incorporates several sustainable features and will register for Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED®) certification.

The $194 million project was designed by Integrus Architecture of Spokane Washington and will be constructed by Caddell Construction Company of Montgomery, Alabama. The NEC is scheduled to be completed in July 2013.

Since 1999, as part of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program, OBO has completed 83 new diplomatic facilities and has moved more than 24,000 people into safe, secure, and functional facilities. Including the NEC in Santo Domingo, OBO has an additional 34 projects in design or construction.

OBO’s mission is to provide safe, secure, and functional facilities for the conduct of U.S. diplomacy and the promotion of U.S. interests worldwide. These facilities represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution. For further information, please contact Christine T. Foushee at FousheeCT@State.gov or (703) 875-4131, or visit http://www.state.gov/obo.

Fact Sheet on Groundbreaking Ceremony for the New Embassy Compound in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Sustainability Overview
September 2011

General Information

  • The Department of State emphasizes energy efficiency and sustainability when designing New Embassy Compounds (NECs).
  • The site’s landscaping creates an inviting and unified environment, demonstrating the U.S. Government’s commitment to green design and sustainability as well as excellence in architecture.
  • A sustainability study was conducted early in the design, and it determined that several sustainable features would be beneficial and cost effective.  Sustainability features included on the compound are power generation via photovoltaic panels, LED task lighting, LED site lighting, low flow flush valves, on-site wastewater treatment, and infiltration of stormwater.
  • The new U.S. Embassy is anticipated to earn a LEED® Silver certification in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system.
  • The Department will incorporate the following features into the construction of the NEC in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic:

Mechanical Equipment and Systems

Energy conservation measures for the NEC include high-efficiency mechanical chillers; variable frequency drives for pumps, fans and motors; and a building automation system.

  • A state of the art control building automation system will allow the facility manager to monitor, control, and optimize the mechanical system by viewing systems efficiency and energy consumption, scheduling equipment run-times, and curtailing systems when they are not required.
  • The mechanical cooling system components have been designed and specified to be free of Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) refrigerants in accordance with the Montreal Protocol.
  • Air handlers use special three-stage high efficiency HEPA and carbon filter systems to improve the overall indoor air quality and the janitor and copy rooms are equipped with an exhaust system to reduce indoor chemical pollutants.

Energy Efficiency

  • Photovoltaic panels will be integrated into shade canopies over parking areas for on-site power generation.  Santo Domingo’s sunny climate is an excellent environment for the use of photovoltaic panels that will serve the dual function of shading employees and vehicles.
  • Occupancy sensors inside the building will automatically turn lights off in vacant areas, reducing energy demand.
  • Fixtures adjacent to windows are equipped with automatic daylight dimming illumination to take advantage of sunlight.
  • Energy-efficient LED task lighting will be provided at individual workstations.

Building Façade Design

  • Responding to the local climate and environment through passive design is the most cost effective way to minimize resource and energy requirements for the project. These measures include locating and shaping building forms and openings to optimize solar orientation, reduce cooling energy, and increase natural daylight.

Landscape Design

  • The majority of the site’s hardscape will be highly reflective, light-colored surfaces to reduce the “heat island effect,” which is the tendency of urban areas with significant amounts of dark-colored paving and roof surfaces to absorb the sun’s radiation.  Heat island effect can increase the microclimate temperature by as much as 10 – 15 degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 – 8.3 degrees Celsius).
  • To the greatest extent possible, indigenous or adapted plants were chosen to reduce the need for irrigation.  Drip irrigation of landscaped areas will receive treated water from the on-site wastewater treatment plant, which will reduce the need for city water.

Water Conservation

  • The stormwater management design will limit rain runoff from the site to pre-development rates and prevent the city’s storm drain system from being overwhelmed.  This is accomplished by a detention basin, which will store and slowly release water after a rainfall, and underground stormwater infiltration chambers, in which stormwater will be absorbed directly into the ground.
  • Water conservation measures will include low-flow bathroom fixtures and automatic shut-off faucets equipped with aerators and flow restrictors.

Construction Materials

  • The NEC will be constructed with high-quality materials in order to reduce life-cycle costs.
  • Materials with recycled content have been selected for both structural materials and interior finishes.
  • The building façades incorporate stone and metal panels for increased durability and ease of maintenance.
  • Superior indoor air quality is achieved by selecting materials with low volatile organic chemical content and the installation of an advanced filtration system.