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

Lockheed Martin Going Green!

Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor

When you hear the name Lockheed Martin – you don’t immediately think “Ah, now there’s a Green company” – they are after all, among the very largest defence contractors in the world. In 2008 70% of Lockheed Martin’s revenues came from military sales.

However, after a recent discussion with Dr David Constable, Lockheed Martin’s VP for Energy, Environment, Safety and Health, my impression of the company’s Green credentials has definitely gone up a couple of notches.

Lockheed Martin started their Go Green program in 2008 partially out of a desire to ‘do the right thing’ according to Dr Constable but also in response to increasing concern on their customer’s part to sustainability.

Submarine launch of a Lockheed Trident missile

Submarine launch of a Lockheed Trident missile

The US military, for example – America’s largest energy consumer, invested $2.7 billion last year to improve energy efficiency according to President Obama. The US Army’s Environmental Command (the US Army has an Environmental Command? Who knew?) has a comprehensive page of Sustainability Links to How-To Guides, Tools and relevant Green departments, facilities and organisations.

Similarly, the UK’s Ministry of Defence, and Royal Mail, two other large Lockheed Martin customers, both asked Lockheed Martin to participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project. According to Dr Constable, in their first year of disclosure, Lockheed Martin were amongst the top performers in their sector and, he said, this next year they aim to improve on that.

With it’s Go Green initiative, Lockheed Martin set itself a goal of reducing its carbon footprint, water footprint and waste-to-landfill footprint by 25% in absolute terms (i.e. not tied to sales revenue) compared to its 2007 baseline, by 2012. For a company with 136,000 employees, 572 facilities in 500 cities and 46 states throughout the U.S. and business locations in 75 nations and territories – this is an ambitious undertaking.

According to Dr Constable though, Lockheed Martin have already met their aim to reduce their water footprint by 25%, they are at 24% waste-to-landfill reduction and 15% carbon emissions reduction. “By definition, being sustainable is a lower cost option”, said Dr Constable, “and the biggest opportunity is in carbon reduction.”

Lockheed have taken a very comprehensive approach to energy efficiency and conservation. Part of it comes from strategic purchasing decisions – buying servers, routers, etc. which are more energy efficient and also purchasing renewable energy – Lockheed Martin are in the top 50 purchasers of renewable power in the US. Lockheed are also using video conferencing technologies more to reduce emissions associated with travel.

With a large portfolio of buildings on its books, LEED certification also plays a large part of Lockheed’s efforts. In fact, Lockheed have a corporate functional procedure (a written policy) in place which mandates that all new construction and renovation above $5 million has to achieve LEED Silver status. Lockheed currently have 19 LEED certified buildings and ‘a lot more in the works’.

Lockheed’s biggest challenges in its Go Green program, according to Dr Constable are getting to grips with the global supply chain – he is currently working with his Global Supply Chain Operations team to address that and they are looking at tools to help them understand the impacts of supply chains.

It remains to be seen if Lockheed Martin will achieve their aim of a 25% reduction in their carbon emissions by 2012 – but to-date they have made a very good start and we have a saying in Irish Tosach maith, leath no hoibre – (a good start is half the work).

And if defence contractors are starting to go Green – that’s reason to be optimistic, right there.

F-22A Photo credit Ronnie Macdonald

Tour of Adobe’s triple Platinum LEED certified HQ

LEED (short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a building rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), that provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction.

In 2006 Adobe’s HQ in San Jose became the world’s first commercial enterprise to achieve a total of three Platinum certifications under the LEED program – a hugely impressive achievement.

I was lucky enough to be given a tour of the facility when I was there recently – some notable stats – in working towards LEED certification Adobe:
– reduced electricity use by 35%
– natural gas by 41%
– domestic water use by 22%
– irrigation water use by 76%

Also, Adobe is now recycling or composting up to 95% of solid waste.

One of the great things about the LEED certification is that it has an ongoing re-certification element (Adobe has chosen to be audited every 3 years) and there is a constant process of improvement.

Adobe Livecycle streamlines LEED certification process

LEED Registration pdf

Speaking of LEED certified buildings, I found a great site yesterday which outlines how the LEED certification process has been streamlined using Adobe software.

On their site carahsoft link to a whitepaper (pdf warning!) which goes into detail on how the Adobe Livecycle software made the LEED certification process vastly more efficient.

From the whitepaper:

Traditionally, applying for LEED certification has been time-consuming and paper-intensive. For example, a manager seeking certification for a new or existing structure would have to complete a complex spreadsheet with up to 69 tabs and submit thousands of pages of supporting documentation for various building components, such as heating systems, landscaping, and interior finishes. After receiving an application, USGBC copied the materials to share across a review team made up of staff and third-party experts. The entire process—from the initial submittal of materials to achieving LEED certification—could take years.

Because of the perceived difficulty in achieving certification, many organizations did not apply. To address the problem and streamline its internal operations, USGBC adopted Adobe LiveCycle server software….

Ultimately, USGBC used Adobe LiveCycle software to create and deploy more than 400 two-page intelligent Adobe PDF forms that building-project teams can download from USGBC’s website….

After applicants have completed the Adobe PDF forms, they can attach supporting documentation—such as landscaping plans, details about construction materials and interior finishes, and other information—to the application as Adobe PDF files or in native file formats from programs such as AutoCAD®, Pro/E, and Microsoft Office. All the materials are uploaded to USGBC’s online workspace, LEED Online….

Because USGBC linked the submitted Adobe PDF forms with SAP, data is automatically captured in SAP as application forms are received, eliminating the need for USGBC staff to manually key application data into back-end systems. The enhanced process helps reduce costs and improve the accuracy of data, and it also makes it easier for USGBC to track and report green-building trends….

Chris Smith, USGBC’s Chief Operating Office said:

We estimate that the automated workflows supported by Adobe solutions will accelerate the process of submitting LEED application forms by as much as 50%

while, Joseph Diianni, director of technology for USGBC said:

Best of all, we believe the new solution will encourage even more organizations to seek LEED certification

So Adobe not only is the world’s first commercial enterprise to achieve a total of three Platinum certifications under the LEED program, but its software now makes it easier for others to be certified too?

Good job Adobe!