Autodesk’s Farnborough office going for LEED certification

Autodesk UK recently moved offices to a facility in Farnborough. In their previous offices, they had occupied several floors, so they set out to find offices where all their staff could be on the same floor, and yet have plenty off access to light. Also, they wanted to drastically reduce their footprint, so they to great care to make the office as green as possible (given that it was a retrofit, not a new build) and they have applied for LEED Gold certification for the office.

I visited with Autodesk in Farnborough last week and I was extremely impressed with the steps they have taken, as well as with the pride Autodesk rightfully show for the ongoing benefits of this project.

Some of the highlights:
The construction
94% construction waste recycled/ diverted from landfill
All energy/water consumption measured and monitored on site
The site was registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme and achieved a score of 34 (85%)

Low energy lighting in Autodesk UK office

Low energy lighting in Autodesk UK office

Materials
High percentage of FSC timber sourced
All new furniture contains high % recycled/recyclable content. Re-used old furniture items where possible and ensured all unused items were diverted from landfill (e.g. donated to charity)
All paints, sealants and adhesives have been sourced with a low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) content, to minimise chemicals and maximise occupant well-being
Selected new materials with high recycled content
A high proportion of new materials have been manufactured within 500 miles

Office
Secure bicycle racks, lockers, shower and changing facilities are provided for cyclists
10% of parking spaces are allocated to car sharers
Water consumption has been reduced by at least 20% through the installation of water efficient taps, shower fittings, WC’s and urinals.
Occupancy sensors have been installed on the lights for more than 90% of the lighting load and daylight controls on more than 50% – meaning that lights are not left on or are lighting areas unnecessarily.
Air conditioning equipment has been zoned in order to provide control to suit requirements for solar exposure and ensuring employee comfort
Recycling facilities have been built into the layout to ensure recycling wherever possible
All new electrical appliances are Energy Star rated
Desks have been located to try and maximise natural daylight and external views

The company also has a 6 seater TelePresence suite to reduce the amount of business travel it’s employees need to do. And Autodesk facilitates employees who wish to work from home – so much so that around 50% of their staff take advantage of this – reducing Autodesk’s property footprint, and the number of commute miles its workers undertake.

Autodesk’s Singapore office was awarded LEED Platinum certification earlier this year – with any luck when I’m in Singapore in November I’ll get a chance to check it out!

Full disclosure – Autodesk is not a GreenMonk client and the trip to visit AutoDesk’s Farnborough facilities was undertaken entirely at GreenMonk’s expense.

Image credit Tom Raftery

The smart building space just got smarter

I attended an IBM Analysts recently in London where IBM briefed us on a number of announcements in the Smart buildings space.

Why do we need smart buildings in the first place? What problem are they solving? Well, according to IBM, worldwide, buildings consume 42% of all electricity generated and by 2025 they will be the largest emitters of greenhouse gases on the planet! That’s definitely something we want to start tackling sooner rather than later.

What exactly is a Smart Building?

Building controls

Old Building controls

A Smart Building is one which takes data from all of a building’s disparate systems – think lighting, air conditioning, water heating and pumping, access control, video and physical security, lifts, etc. and provides integrated control of those system. Also a smart building has analytics to report when there are problems with any of the building’s connected systems and it brings all this information together into management dashboards appropriate for the users and operators of the building.

Having access to this data and integrated control enables building owners/operators to reduce energy consumption, increase operational efficiency and by responding more quickly to alerts, to reduce maintenance costs. According to IBM, adding intelligence to buildings, can reduce energy usage by 40% and maintenance costs by anywhere between 10-30%.

IBM see this as an important emerging space so they recently announced new software, appliances and partnerships to help address it.

The IBM partnership with Schneider Electric has yielded a new smarter buildings solution which when deployed in Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island saw:

a 15 percent reduction in energy consumption in its data center, with similar savings expected campus wide– across 50 buildings on 428 acres

Maximo Asset Management for Energy Optimization 7.1.1

Maximo for Energy Optimization 7.1.1

IBM’s latest version of their Maximo software can create a data-driven heat map of a data center room at any height (important because temperatures can vary wildly by height within a data center). The heat map is a useful too to see cooler spots where perhaps a little less air conditioning energy need be expended (by, for example, swapping out a perforated floor tile for a solid one).

Finally, IBM, as founder members of the Green Sigma Coalition, announced that AutoDesk have signed up as members of the organisation. The Green Sigma Coalition brings together leading players in the industry (IBM, SAP, Johnson Controls, Honeywell Building Solutions, Eaton, ESS, Cisco, Siemens Building Technologies Division, and Schneider Electric) to help clients optimise their buildings for energy, carbon, water and waste.

The addition of AutoDesk adds a new dimension to the coalition. Now it will be possible to design efficiency and sustainability in to building projects right from the beginning, which is obviously far better than trying to retrofit, after the building has been built.

The Smart Building space, a natural extension of smarter data centers, is one with huge potential for efficiencies and energy savings. There are lots of players diving into this space but very few of them have the breadth of vision, the installed customer base or the existing toolset which IBM already has at its disposal to make a credible play here. Fun times ahead.