OUC – The Reliable One, the second largest municipal utility in Florida. and the City of St. Cloud held a groundbreaking ceremony for OUC’s new state-of-the-art St. Cloud Operations & Maintenance Center, the first net-zero campus for a Florida utility.
The $63.6 million, 24-acre campus will reach net-zero emissions through conservation and efficiency practices and its use of renewable energy. Designed by OUC and Jacobs, a design firm, the project aligns with OUC’s and the City of St. Cloud’s commitment to sustainability and renewable energy. Ajax Construction is building the facility located at 2070 Hickory Tree Road in east St. Cloud.
“Today marks another step toward OUC’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Clint Bullock, OUC’s General Manager & CEO. “This campus will include unique sustainability features and renewable energy throughout. We believe this will show what commercial buildings can look like while eliminating their carbon footprint, and we hope others will follow our lead with more net-zero energy buildings in the future.”
Construction includes building a 55,000-square-foot warehouse and a 22,000-square-foot fleet maintenance facility with service bays, parts stores, electric vehicle (EV) fleet charging and fueling stations, and a vehicle wash area. Approximately 260 people will work on this portion of the project. When completed in December 2023, about 54 OUC employees will call the campus home. Future phases are expected to include an administrative facility and a substation.
The project includes several sustainable features, including rooftop solar panels, floating solar, high-efficiency water fixtures, rainwater harvesting tanks, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, walking and biking trails, and EV charging stations. Human-focused design strategies were added to promote well-being, safety and encourage healthy choices. Buildings on campus were designed to meet the stringent requirements of LEED®, Fitwel and WELL Health Safety Standard.
The project marks a milestone in OUC’s 25-year partnership with St. Cloud. In May 1997, the two entered a long-term agreement for OUC to operate and maintain the city’s electric system.