The Old Guard is the oldest active-duty infantry regiment in the U.S. Army, dating back to 1784 — three years older even than our Constitution. Officially known as the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard is not only the Army's official ceremonial unit and escort to the president, but it boasts specialty platoons such as the Fife and Drum Corp and the Sentinels of the Tomb.
While the men and women who serve in The Old Guard possess spotless records and impeccable military bearing, they arrive at Fort Myer, Virginia, ready to undergo rigorous training. Barracks 246, home to the Regimental Orientation Program, plays a vital role in this process.
Initially constructed in 1896, Barracks 246 was last updated 27 years ago. After decades of continuous, heavy use, the building experienced leaky windows, building drafts, inadequate insulation, and potential mold issues. It was time to improve living conditions while meeting current safety and security requirements. But, as part of the Fort Myer Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, the Barracks' historic building envelope also needed to remain untouched.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reached out to the design-build team of EYP and Grunley Construction. Leveraging an integrated design process and using energy modeling tools, the architectural team and EYP's Green Lab worked together to make smart, energy-efficient decisions about systems, space, and safety. The team developed a design that significantly improves the performance of the existing building envelope, lighting, and HVAC systems for a predicted energy use savings of 47% and utility cost savings of 30% annually.
How did the team safeguard this landmark and deliver energy-efficient results? The Green Lab protected the historic brick façade by tucking R-22 continuous insulation behind the facade, resulting in an exterior wall that performs 50% better than energy code requirements. And they added an interior window behind the existing historic window, enabling the overall glazing assembly to perform 40% better.
Savings by the Numbers
Occupant comfort was also a priority. The architectural group identified insufficient air ventilation in the building and worked with the Green Lab to set the primary LEED strategy. Dedicated outside air systems now provide increased ventilation for improved indoor air quality and address the diverse needs of different spaces, from the high humidity in the uniform steam press room to over-heating in the attic training rooms.
The team mitigated the attic space's heat challenges through a design solution that includes free-flowing airspace with venting at the ridge and eaves, as well as continuous insulation under the roof sheathing. This approach allows hot air to vent just under the roof, reducing the base-level heat load from the sun and requiring less energy to reach a comfortable temperature. The design also allows the wood roof structure to breathe as intended, preventing rot. Plus, there are fan coil units for local thermal control and low-flow water fixtures to reduce indoor water use by 45% from a LEED Baseline.
Safety and security were essential. New interior casement blast windows, progressive collapse steel beams, and fire suppression systems on exterior porches provide a safe living environment to protect the regiment's soldiers.
Barracks 246 is a showcase facility for the Army. The team's integrated approach to modernizing the facility extends the lifespan of one of Fort Myer's historic buildings — preserving history while creating a safe, modern workplace environment.