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NASA Seeks 'Silver' Lining in Green Buildings

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This news isn’t all that surprising because the government (at various levels) has shown significant support for green buildings, but recently, NASA set the wheels in motion to have a $54 million LEED Silver building built in Greenbelt, Maryland.  This three story office and laboratory structure will be the future Exploration Sciences Building at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.  And as a side note, NASA has determined that all future buildings will be constructed to the LEED Silver level, at a minimum.  Designed by EwingCole, the completed building will end up at about 265,500 sf.  Looks good.  UPDATED 8/23/2007:  new images swapped out. 

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Armstrong's HQ Receives LEED-EB Platinum Award

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[Video: 4:25 min.Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (NYSE: AWI) is based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and operates in the business of designing and manufacturing floors, ceilings, and cabinets.  Their current headquarters was built in 1998 and is now part of an elite group of buildings to obtain the LEED Platinum certification for existing buildings.  Feel free to click the above link to see video of Armstrong’s HQ building.  The 3-story building is a glass and steel structure that has workspaces for about 235 employees.  Here are a few things they did to take the green plunge:

  • 60% of the building’s waste is recycled;
  • Building water use was reduced to 420,000 gallons (from 800,000 gallons);
  • Less than 1.5 watts/sf of energy is used, which is 1/2 the national average for comparable properties;
  • 75% of the building’s power is supplied by wind energy; and
  • Green Seal-certified cleaning products are used throughout the building. 

Now the question is:  if you own your headquarters, have you looked into LEED-EB certification through the USGBC?  We’ve seen Adobe & Owens Corning do it.  Now we have Armstrong.  Who’s next?

Good Links:
++Armstrong LEED-EB Facts & Information Page
++Armstrong Headquarters Receives LEED-EB Platinum Certification [PR]

Corgan Christens New LEED Silver Headquarters

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Today, Corgan Associates Inc. opened the doors to its brand new LEED Silver headquarters.  Corgan is a Dallas-based architectural + design firm and designed the three-story, 60,000 square-foot looker.  Being a tenant in the West End area of downtown since 1986, Corgan is a long-time downtown stalwart–it’s great to keep them there with a brand new building.  I drive by it on the way home from work, so I’ve been watching construction for the past year or so.  It looks great.  I really dig the copper facade on the north + west walls.

From what I understand, Corgan’s HQ was built by Turner Construction, well-known for pretty much every green building in the area, including Pat Lobb Toyota, SMU’s Embrey Engineering Building, and the energy-efficient Wal-Mart.  According to Corgan, "The architectural style and features of the West End will be reflected in the new building.  In a contemporary way, Corgan’s heavily rusticated masonry building will draw from area warehouse vocabulary.  The interior will feature a heavy timber structural frame, typical of historic structures in the West End.  The three floors of interior design studio spaces will also feature large expanses of glass."  Looks amazing.  Corgan’s HQ: 401 N. Houston Street.  Via DBJ

Owens Corning Headquarters Receives Silver LEED-EB Certification

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The Energy Star-rated Owens Corning (NYSE: OC) world headquarters building in Toledo, Ohio, has added another badge of honor with Silver LEED-EB certification.  Designed by Cesar Pelli (listed by the AIA as one of the 10 Most Influential American Architects) and built in 1996, Pelli spoke approvingly of the certification, "I am pleased this facility provided the solid foundation needed to earn the recognition that the LEED Existing Building certification provides."  For a couple other examples of LEED-EB buildings, feel free to click over to read about Adobe + Union Bank of California Center.  Owens Corning also runs The Pink Panther Energy Blog, which informs customers on insulation + energy conservation best practices. 

Green Features:
Here are just a few of the green features mentioned in the certification: under-floor ventilation for energy-efficient air delivery and specific control of thermal comfort; low maintenance, indigenous landscaping; easterly facing building allowing for natural lighting control via adjustable shading; and reusable, removable, non-adhesive carpet squares throughout almost the entire building.  See also CO + PRNewswire

Green Office: Get Supplied @ The Green Office

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Officially, this is the third post in a mini-segment here at Jetson Green called the “Green Office.”  First I talked about getting set up with a Think chair, and then I mentioned the Liege Desk.  What next?  How about the thing you use most in the office?  Your supplies.  There’s a great resource for finding sustainable supplies at the comprehensive www.thegreenoffice.com.  The Green Office is “an online retailer of recycled, environmentally friendly, and sustainable business products, school supplies, and paper.”  With regard to green products, it really is the most complete source for supplies (paper, envelopes, calendars, binders, folders, ink, toner, etc.), technology (fax, printer, shredder, telephone, etc.), furniture (shelving, storage, tables, etc.), janitorial supplies (waste containers, cleaning supplies, light bulbs, etc.), and breakroom supplies (cups, plates, etc.). 

Established in 2005 by Alex Szabo, The Green Office itself is committed to setting an example as a sustainable business.  Feel free to skip over to EcoTalk for a 7:50 minute interview with Szabo.  Originally a sustainability consultant, he’s quite the eco-entrepreneur.  In his interview, he talks about how he came upon the idea of starting this business and what he does to continually update the Green Office catalog with nascent product offerings.  See you next time. 

Adobe's San Jose Building Goes LEED-EB Platinum Green

Adobe_headquarters_leedeb As a person smitten with the entrepreneurial bug, I always love to read Business 2.0 magazine when it comes in the mail.  And it’s not that the magazine has ideas for me to start businesses, but it makes me think differently about trends and the future …it makes me come up with new business ideas.  Business 2.0’s September Magazine contains an article about Adobe’s retrofitted USGBC-certified, LEED Platinum building.    

This article is awesome because Jeff Nachtigal, the author, actually quantifies each retrofit and illustrates that going green makes economic sense. Some of my counterparts in the blogosphere are adamant that going green is about doing the right thing for our planet, and I respect that, but as a businessman and entrepreneur, going green must make economic sense. Generically speaking, public companies have a fiduciary duty to the shareholder to create value, so there should be some financial incentive to adopt green concepts into buildings. Now there is. 

Here are some of the eco-friendly renovations and the break even calculations:       

(1)  Waterless Urinals with Nontoxic chemicals:
Cost:                        $35,374
Annual Savings:        $14,896
Breakeven:               2.4 years

(2)  Automatic Faucets:
Cost:                        $110,000
Annual Savings:        $  24,000
Breakeven:                4.6 years

(3) Compact Fluorescent Lights:
Cost:                        $ 11,000
Annual Savings:        $105,000
Breakeven:                .11 years

(4) Automated Irrigation System:
Cost:                         $ 3,610
Annual Savings:         $10,000
Breakeven:                .36 years

(5) Timed Outages of Garage Exhaust Fans & Outdoor Lighting Systems:
Cost:                        $    150
Annual Savings:        $68,000
Breakeven:               .002 years (immediately!!)

These are hard, quantifiable savings. The payback on investments like these is relatively soon, the most attenuated being close to five years out. That's not a bad payback period at all! So these are rational, smart, responsible decisions, and other companies should take notice that Adobe has raised the bar for building operating efficiencies. It's time to hop on the train.

What’s more amazing is that Adobe has been able to foster the right business climate that allows employees to notice waste and make the right changes on a going forward basis. That’s where the real benefits will be realized…and further, employees buy into the benefits and go home making similar changes to their homes. Then they will tell their friends how they saved on their monthly utility bills because of some pragmatic, and economic, changes. Great article Business 2.0!

Good Links:
++Adobe's Announcement to Work with USGBC to Go LEED
++Press Release of Adobe's Receival of Platinum Certification
++Adobe's Environmental Committment
++GreenBiz Artice with CEO Comments

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