New Women’s Shelter
The project: Amy’s House is Lincoln County Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s (LCCADV) new, 13,000-sf women’s shelter purposefully designed to be subtle and unassuming but with artful attention to sustainability and functionality. Amenity spaces include a conference room, family room, kitchen, laundry, lounge area, outdoor playground, playroom, sunroom, and a serenity garden.
The goal: Create a state-of-the-art shelter that increases the current shelter’s capacity and consolidates essential services such as counseling, legal assistance, parenting and financial classes, and job readiness programs and referrals, with a safe and comforting living space to help clients heal and grow.
Design approach: The two-story shelter is designed to be a sustainable, near-net-zero, energy-efficient building serving as an ‘incognito’ safe haven for its users and the local community. IMEG provided structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection design for the building, which utilizes a double-envelope passive solar design in conjunction with earth coupling for cooling, automated controls, and an active solar array. The super-insulated outer shell helps to temper the internal core naturally, reducing the need for mechanical conditioning.
The concrete construction, double envelope, monitored and gated entry, minimum of two secured doors at each entrance, and quiet interior provide psychological benefits and sense of security for residents. Each room has its own temperature control, giving residents much-needed autonomy.
Challenge: Provide an air circulation system in between the outer and inner envelope to support the heating and cooling needs of the inner building while keeping the space comfortable. Solution: Fans in the basement are tied to thermostats and turn on to circulate air based on desired setpoints. The fans make use of the basement heat sink as it provides a constant temperature, since it is below-grade, to maintain this envelope temperature.
Challenge: Support the net-zero energy usage. Solution: A VRF system efficiently provides individual room controls and simultaneous heating and cooling.
The outcome: After the first few months of operation, the building has a net-zero electrical usage and is meeting the desired goals while maintaining tenant comfort. The use of durable and low-maintenance products will allow this building to serve the community for decades and help upwards of 10,000 people displaced by violence. The project received the CREW Charlotte 2024 Community Impact Award (Non-Profit).
CREW Charlotte 2024 Community Impact Award (Non-Profit)