post

How SAP achieved LEED Platinum certification for their headquarters in Pennsylvania

As I was in Pennsylvania to attend SAP’s Analyst’s Base Camp event earlier this year, I took the opportunity to get a tour of the new LEED Platinum certified Headquarters building. I was shown around the building by the facilities manager, Jim Dodd, who informed me of the different steps taken to enable the structure to achieve its an impressive LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

I videoed the tour and see below for a transcription of it:

Tom Raftery: Hey everyone! Welcome to GreenMonk TV, I am here in Newtown Square at SAP Headquarters. I am with –

Jim Dodd: Jim Dodd.

Tom Raftery: Jim, you are –

Jim Dodd: The Facilities Manager for the campus.

Tom Raftery: Okay, now we are standing on a — we are in the new building in Newtown Square.

Jim Dodd: The new LEED Platinum Headquarters’ building, right.

Tom Raftery: Okay, and can you tell me about the floor that we are standing on?

Jim Dodd: In comparison to the floor in the headquarters’ old building, where we used marble that was imported from Italy, what we wanted to do was to reduce that cost and do a sustainable floor. And so this floor is a concrete floor, and it has a mixture of seashells and glass in it on a terrazzo finish and then we polished it and honed it up, so it would be nice and shiny. But it’s considerably less expensive obviously than the marble floor in the main building and we use it in the atrium area in a radiant floor which we’ll talk about in a minute.

But it’s a less expensive solution and yet it’s a very attractive solution in terms of the flooring for both the link to the new building and the atrium that runs the full length of the floor downstairs on the promenade.

Tom Raftery: So, Jim, tell me about the floor.

Jim Dodd: Okay. In the promenade area, below us here, is a radiant floor, we have pipes that run through that floor and we have ten geothermal wells that are drilled in the back of our property. We take the water out of the ground where it comes as a constant temperature and we pump it through the piping on the concrete floor downstairs and the floor radiates heat or air-conditioning depending on what time of the year it is. And it helps to keep this big atrium very comfortable without having to use large amounts of air-conditioning or heating.

Tom Raftery: So it’s just using natural heat or cooling from the earth.

Jim Dodd: That’s correct, yes. So the water really comes out about 55 degrees out of the ground and we can pump that through the floor and that cools the concrete and radiates coolness in the summer time, and then in the winter time what we got to do is heat that water up to about 72 degrees and then we pump that through the floor and it heats the concrete and it radiates heat off the floor, and because it’s on the floor, it affects the employees immediately and it keeps the atrium very, very, very comfortable.

Tom Raftery: Okay, and you’ve got these nice banisters.

Jim Dodd: Yes, it’s an interesting situation here. When the original site survey was done for this building, it would have wiped out of a grove of the mature Chinese chestnut trees that are absolutely beautiful and are part of the aesthetics of the campus. So we moved the building in order to save half of those chestnut trees, but the chestnut trees that we did have to harvest in order to put the building here, we had them milled into handrails for the whole building.

About 90% of what’s in this building to construct it was sourced locally within 500 miles of the building and that’s a sustainability feature again, it provides points on the LEED scale because it cuts down on your carbon output because you are not exporting things from thousands and thousands of miles away.

Tom Raftery: So Jim, tell me about the under floor?

Jim Dodd: Yeah, the difference — the primary difference between the original building and the new building is in the original building the air distribution comes down from the ceiling plenum, and of course, that’s not very efficient because heat rises, so if you are trying to get heat down to where the people sit, it’s not in a very efficient approach. In this building, we use an under floor distribution where the air comes up through the floor and it’s controlled in each location with a vent, so people can control the amount of air coming in their space and by coming up from the floor, the treated air gets to the employee immediately and there is an immediate reaction to that temperature adjustment.

In the other building of course the hot air comes down but it turns around and goes right back up, so it’s not as efficient as this underfloor system is in this building here. We have a wood feature in each of our hallways that separate the neighborhoods and it’s made from bamboo. Again a sustainable wood that’s renewable every seven years in comparison to oak or walnut or some other wood that takes 40 or 50 years to mature. We decided to use bamboo in this building because it’s sustainable.

Tom Raftery: So, tell me about the carpets.

Jim Dodd: So the carpet, in most instances when you install large amounts of carpet, there is volatile organic chemicals in the carpet like formaldehyde that require you to aerate the building for a period of time before you can occupy it. We work with the manufacturer of this particular carpet to reduce or eliminate VOCs in it. So we did not have to ventilate the building for a period of time prior to occupancy.
And it makes for a cleaner environment for the employees overall without the organic chemicals off gassing from the carpet.

Tom Raftery: So what have we got beside us, Jim?

Jim Dodd: This is a filter water system that we put in. A number of years ago we used to provide bottled water for the employees and then we realized how much plastic waste was being generated, and even though it was being recycled. We decided to eliminate bottled water from the campus and we installed one of these Innowave water systems in each of our pantries. It’s filtered and it also cools the water and heats the water. So if you want to make tea, you can get hot water, and if you want cold water, you can get cold water.

But it reduced our cost by over $120,000 on bottled water, and got rid of the plastic issue.

Tom Raftery: So, Jim, where are we now?

Jim Dodd: We are in the chiller room of the new building of the Platinum LEED building and what we do that’s unique in this building in comparison to other buildings is we actually make ice at night and store it in these very big tanks behind me, and we use the system because at night the electricity is less expensive and the pressure on the grid is lower. So we don’t have to run the chiller during the day, because what we do is, we melt the ice during the day when we need air-conditioning and then we use that to cool the building and we don’t have to use our chiller during the day, when the grid is being stressed by everyone else, wanting air conditioning.

Tom Raftery: So Jim, tell me about this garden, where are we?

Jim Dodd: We are on the roof of the new building, believe it or not, and this is a green roof, this is a very unique approach to maintaining constant temperatures in the building. By having a green roof we keep the building cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
The other unique thing about this, as you can see we have to mow grass and we didn’t want to have to store gasoline up here, because it’s a hazardous flammable material. So we sought out a company that made a very good electric lawnmower and we mow the grass up here with electric lawnmower. In that way, we don’t have to store any gasoline up here, and it’s quite and it doesn’t just dirt people when they are working, it’s just a very unique approach to roof construction.

Tom Raftery: Jim, what have we behind this?

Jim Dodd: Behind this is the meadow as a part of our 102 acres of property here, and what we did this year, was working with the Triskeles Foundation and One Village, One Farm, these are non-profit organizations; we agree to put in an organic garden. We have enough room. So we put in a 100×50 organic garden with 22 raised beds and we’ll donate the food at the end of this year to all the local food banks.

We expect to produce hundreds of pounds of produce in this garden, and working with organic, no pesticides or anything like that, all natural ingredients to keep the bugs off, and then there is a 6 foot deer fence around it, because we have a lot of deer on the property and the garden would just get eaten to nothing. So we put a fence around it to protect it from the deer.

So we’re doing cucumbers, summer squash, tomatoes and peppers, and then, we’ll have a fall planting as well, and all of that food will go to the local food banks.

We have 80 volunteers that have volunteered to take care of the garden. So we have plenty of people to take care of it, and it’s going to work out really, really well, and it’s another sustainable aspect of the property.

We also have two beehives on the property as well. We have a beekeeper that works for SAP and he had asked us if he could put beehives on the property. And we agreed to do that, because we felt that that was another sustainable issue in terms of pollinating and protecting the bees.

There has been a degeneration of bee colonies around the world and so having good bee colonies is very important to the propagation of all the different plant life that we have on the campus. So we decided to put the beehives here as well.

Tom Raftery: So what have we behind us, Sir Jim?

Jim Dodd: Okay, what you see behind us here is a 60,000 gallon cistern, buried in the ground, and we collect our rainwater in that cistern and then we use the rainwater for irrigation and flushing toilets, you know what, they call brown water or gray water, and with all the rain that we’ve had it’s full.

But it’s another way for us to get LEED points, but it’s also a better way to manage our water consumption on campus because we can use that rainwater to irrigate. We have a beautiful courtyard in between the two buildings and we irrigate that with that water. We also irrigate the green roof that you’ve seen with the cistern water. So it all goes into that 2 million gallons of savings of water per year.

Tom Raftery: So why are we standing beside this artwork, Jim?

Jim Dodd: This is part of our social sustainability program where we work with local non-profits to do certain things. In this particular case, we work with a non-profit called Fresh Artists. These are young children, these are not adults, these are children who have painted this artwork that you see behind you.

We make a donation, substantial donation to fresh artists, so they can buy supplies and easels and paints and brushes for their children, and then we in turn purchase their artwork to hang in this building.

So except on the executive floor, all other floors of this building have examples of this artwork from these young children and some of them are quite attractive and fun. But it’s a social sustainability thing as a part of our work with the community.

And the IT systems?

Jim Dodd: It’s a dashboard.

Tom Raftery: Right.

Jim Dodd: And it tells you the consumption of electricity in this building, the consumption of electricity in the other building, and it tells me what my PUE is in my data center, which is a –

Tom Raftery: I know PUE.

Jim Dodd: Okay, you know what that is. So it tells me how we’re operating, whether there’s some kind of anomaly, we’re using more electricity than usual. We can get just a quick glimpse of how the building is functioning, and what its consumption rates are in both buildings.

But then they go far beyond that and they can drill down to an individual air handler, right to the motor and determine if it’s running, how fast it’s going, how much power it’s using. We monitor over 10,000 points of information of data on all the systems in the building.

Full disclosure – SAP paid my travel and expenses to attend the SAP Analysts Base Camp

post

GreenMonk Sustainability Customer Reference series – Sika

This is the fourth video in my Sustainability Customer Reference series project. The project involves my talking to SAP customers and asking them about the sustainability solutions they have implemented. In this video, I talk to Dr Hubert Norz of global specialty chemicals firm Sika about how they use SAP solutions to stay compliant with safety regulations, like the European REACH directive.

Here’s the transcription of our conversation:

Tom Raftery: Hi everyone, welcome to the GreenMonk Sustainability Customer Reference Series sponsored by SAP. With me I have Dr. Hubert Norz from Sika.

Dr. Norz can you tell me a little bit about Sika as an organization and then your role within Sika?

Hubert Norz: Okay, Sika is one of the global players in the area of specialty chemicals. We are in the construction market and in the industry. For construction market we produce mortars, admixtures, sealants, adhesives, flooring products, and products for roofing and roofing systems for example to fix solar panels in roofs.

Tom Raftery: Okay and your role within Sika?

Hubert Norz: I am responsible for product stewardship within the Sika group and I have second role in the company of Sika Germany, I am responsible for the management systems that means environmental management, there’s some quality management, safety management and a very new initiative concerning sustainability that’s energy management.

Tom Raftery: So how does SAP help you with those jobs?

Hubert Norz: Sika uses SAP across the organization. And in my area product stewardship we use mainly SAP EHS. SAP EHS helps us to create safety data sheets to comply with transport rules for dangerous goods management. We produce our product labels out of the SAP system and we use SAP for the recycling of our packaging materials.

Tom Raftery: And what’s the requirement for using a system as complex as SAP for producing something like a label?

Hubert Norz: The labels contain all the safety information you need by law to be compliant and the information concerning specific aspects like CE marking, like recycling logos, we have more than 100 different certification and rule specific logos in the SAP system which will be put — right label for the right product.

Tom Raftery: So you mentioned recycling, how does SAP help you with that?

Hubert Norz: For example Sika has a huge variety of packagings and for each different fraction of different material, you have to pay a different amount for the recycling material. And SAP helps that using a real module to calculate different parts, the weight of the different parts, the cost for recycling for the different fractions, different materials to do the total calculation for the packaging recycling which is mandatory by law to do that.

Tom Raftery: Okay and you mentioned transportation rules, what’s that about?

Hubert Norz: If you ship products to your customers — there are very specific rules and you have to comply with that rules for safety on roads, safety in the air transportation. SAP provides the possibility to — or to provide the information for a customer and to create all kinds of reports on the delivery papers for orders of the products et cetera.

Tom Raftery: And how are you going to handle REACH legislation?

Hubert Norz: We use SAP EHS in a extended way to comply with the chemical legislation REACH in Europe. And we are on the way to enhance the SAP EHS system with SAP REACH compliance engine and hence the substance volume tracking module, which we are convinced — it’s the only thing in our area to enable us to fulfill these requirements.

Tom Raftery: So how are you finding the SAP services?

Hubert Norz: We are working since — so many years together with SAP, since the early 90s. And in my area SAP EHS, we appreciate very much the flexibility and the expertise of SAP. And in the past — the requirements we had SAP tried always very hard to fulfill and we were very satisfied.

Tom Raftery: So finally what are your plans for the SAP product set going forward?

Hubert Norz: After the rollout in many countries like Switzerland, Germany, Austria and North America, we’ll extend the new SAP template all over Europe. That means the next rollouts will be for our companies in UK, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, following by France and Italy. And all other European companies will follow soon.

Tom Raftery: Great, fantastic thanks a million for coming on the show.

post

Green bits and bytes for Feb 24th 2011

Green bits & bytes

.

Some of the Green announcements which passed by my desk this week:

  1. Digital Lumens, maker of Intelligent LED Lighting Systems, today announced that its Midbay fixture is the only ?Recognized Winner? in the Industrial Category of the Next Generation Luminaires competition. The competition is jointly organized by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as part of a broad initiative to advance solid-state lighting technology and adoption.
  2. Symphony Environmental Technologies, a maker of degradeable plastics has announced [PDF] the signing of a 25 year distribution agreement for its products throughout the US. According to their announcement, “The core of Symphony?s business is a suite of chemical formulations called d2w, which turn plastic at the end of its service-life into a material with a completely different molecular structure. At that stage it is no longer a plastic and can be safely bioassimilated in the open environment in the same way as a leaf”
  3. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a new report detailing the full range of subsidies that have benefited the commercial nuclear power industry in the United States over the last 50 years. The report found that subsidies for the entire nuclear fuel cycle — from uranium mining to long-term waste storage — have often exceeded the average market price of the power produced. In other words, if the government had purchased power on the open market and given it away for free, it would have been less costly than subsidizing nuclear power plant construction and operation.
  4. The International Aluminium Institute has launched a new Website, Aluminium for Future Generations to highlight the recycling advantages of aluminium products. The site provides data on recycling rates and energy and emissions savings; measures that are central to the aluminium industry’s sustainability strategy of reducing the environmental impact of its facilities, increasing the use of aluminium in energy saving applications and maximising the recycling of products at the end of their useful life.
  5. Environmental Business Journal, a business research publication that provides strategic business intelligence for the environmental industry, announced the winners of its 2010 Business Achievement awards. One of those awarded was Locus Technologies, who were awarded an IT Companies Business Achievement award for ” for growth in revenue, client base, and product introductions”

You should follow me on Twitter here

Photo credit .faramarz

post

Friday Green Numbers round-up for Jan 21st 2011

Green Numbers

And here is a round-up of this week’s Green numbers…

  1. 19th Century Economist Reveals Surefire Investment Strategy!

    Intel just finished the ?best year in [its] history,? and expects 2011 to be even better. This news suggests a few important questions: for how much longer are we going to keep buying more and more more powerful microchips? Will 2012 be still better for Intel and other hardware suppliers? 2020? 2050? How much can the demand for computation keep expanding?

    I first started asking myself these questions after I drew graphs (using US BEA data) of changes over time in computer cost and aggregate US corporate computer spending. They reveal a deeply weird pattern: as computers get cheaper, companies spend more and more on them. See for yourself…

  2. In Spain, the three wise men no longer bring coal

    On January 6, it is traditional that Spanish children receive gifts from the three wise men, a day far more anticipated than the arrival of Santa Claus. The most feared gift used to be coal, a sign that the children had behaved badly over the past year. Coal is also a bad sign for the environment, because it?s the largest source of CO2 to the atmosphere and a major driver of global warming. But happily in Spain, things are changing.

    In the morning of the three wise men, while children all over Spain opened their gifts and thousands of new electronic gadgets were plugged into the grid, none of the nation?s electricity was coming from coal. Over the whole day, three-quarters of Spain?s electricity was met from renewable sources while coal barely reached 4% of …

  3. New Materials Could Double Chevy Volt Battery Capacity

    Since its release last December the Chevy Volt has proven to be extremely popular ? it?s been crowned the 2011 Green Car of the Year, the North American Car of the Year and its sales eclipsed those of the Nissan Leaf. However it is set to become even more appealing as GE announced it is working on a new generation of batteries with double the energy-storage capacity. GM?s licensed battery-electrode materials developed at Argonne National Laboratory (a U.S. Department of Energy lab) use mixed-metal oxides that not only increase storage capacity, but improve the safety and durability of car batteries…

  4. Black market steals half a million pollution permits

    Nearly half a million pollution permits were stolen from a Czech carbon bank this week. The event put the spotlight on an emerging black market for the right to pollute the planet, and shut down much of the European carbon trading scheme

    The stolen permits would allow a company to pollute the atmosphere with almost half a million tonnes of carbon. Known as European Union Allowances (EUAs), they are distributed by the EU as part of its carbon trading scheme, set up to help the bloc of nations meet its Kyoto protocol targets.

    Major companies can emit only …

  5. Commission approves record amount of state aid for the deployment of broadband networks in 2010

    In keeping with the ambitious digital agenda goals set in the EU 2020, the European Commission has approved, under the EU guidelines for state aid to broadband, the use of over ?1.8 billion public funds for broadband development to support economic recovery, inclusive growth and the long term competitiveness of the EU. The public funds are aimed to ensure that all citizens have access to high speed Internet access in the European Union, including in rural or remote areas.

    Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaqu?n Almunia commented: “Smart investments into high and very high speed broadband infrastructures are crucial to create jobs, increase economic performance and to unlock the competitive potential of the EU in the long term. The Commission is committed to help EU…

  6. DOE Awards $967M Loan Guarantee for Arizona Solar PV Project

    The Department of Energy is handing out more loan guarantees for solar projects. This morning the DOE said that it has offered a $967 million loan guarantee for the Agua Caliente Solar project, a 290 MW photovoltaic facility that will be built in Yuma County, Arizona, and which NRG Energy said it planned to buy from First Solar last month.

    The Agua Caliente project will use panels from First Solar, is set for completion in 2014 and is supposed to create 400 construction jobs. Northern California utility PG&E plans to buy the electricity from the project. NRG plans to invest up to $800 million in equity in the project, and the deal between First Solar and NRG requires…

  7. Worst Traffic Congestion In The U.S.: Chicago Ranked Most Congested

    Despite high fuel prices and a tough economy, traffic congestion is getting worse. Chicago drivers spent more time and money in 2009 traffic jams than most cities in the U.S., according to the 2010 Urban Mobility Report released Thursday.

    Chicago and Northwest Indiana drivers wasted an additional 70 hours in traffic and an average of $1,738 in gas costs, according to the report published by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.

    Not that it’s anything to brag about, but Chicago tied with the Washington, D.C. for the time drivers spent behind the wheel. Chicago’s additional 70 hours of …

  8. 10 Creative Ways to Recycle Ordinary Objects

    Creatively artistic recycling doesn?t have to be limited to helping the environment: it can also be a challenge and opportunity to ingenious designers who work with materials most people would consider waste to create amazing things. Some of the following designs serve multiple purposes: illustrating the material possibilities of what most would consider trash while also maximizing the aesthetic potential of what would otherwise be considered waste objects. Clothes become rugs, airline trolleys become furniture, cardboard becomes bridges and sewage turns into …

You should follow me on Twitter here

Photo credit house of bamboo

post

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.

post

Will we ever see inkwells replace inkjet cartridges?


HP inkjet printer cartridge return envelope

Photo credit scoobyfoo

HP’s Ed Gemmell contacted me the other day to let me know that

HP will celebrate first anniversary of ‘closed loop’ manufacturing for inket cartridges at end of Jan http://tinyurl.com/7pj6bc

I followed the link to see what HP were doing with their inkjet cartridges and, in fairness to them, they seem to be doing some good stuff!. From their release:

HP today announced it has developed an engineering breakthrough that enables the use of post-consumer recycled plastics in the production of new Original HP inkjet print cartridges.

More than 200 million cartridges have been manufactured using the process thus far. HP used more than 5 million pounds of recycled plastic in its inkjet cartridges last year, and the company is committed to using twice as much in 2008…. In addition to closing the design loop, using recycled content saves energy and keeps plastic out of landfills – since first piloting the process, HP has used enough recycled plastic to fill more than 200 tractor trailers….

“HP’s use of recycled plastic in an application as technically demanding as their inkjet cartridges represents an unprecedented engineering innovation,” said Larry Koester, vice president of Communications, Environmental Division, Society of Plastics Engineers. “This remarkable achievement comes after many years of perseverance and ingenuity by HP and their partners.”

So all very laudable, and recognised as such by the Society of Plastics Engineers, kudos to HP.

However, if HP wanted to be really Green about its inkjet printer cartridges it would make them completely re-usable. I should only have to buy one cartridge ever (or possible one per colour). I should then be able to buy ink refills in fully bio-degradeable packaging to re-fill my cartridge every time it runs out.

This would be a truly Green advancement in inkjet printing and to my knowledge, there is no technical barrier to this happening. Is it likely to happen any time soon? I guess that depends just how serious inkjet manufacturers are about being Green.

In fact, come to think of it, there should be no such thing as inkjet cartridges. If there is only to be one for the lifetime of the printer, it should be embedded, not removable. An inkwell, not a cartridge, into which I pour my refill.

post

Dell Hybrid hiding its (Green) light under a bushel!

Screenshot of Dell Hybrid taken from their site

I first heard about the new Dell Hybrid PC from Walter Higgins on Twitter.

My initial reaction was “Dell Hybrid”? Do they have petrol engines and electric motors? Why the Hybrid name? It isn’t immediately obvious from the Dell Hybrid page on Dell’s website.

They look nice, to be sure but what about the Green credentials they are touting?

I then received an email from Dell’s Renee Daulong and she explained:

The Hybrid is about 80 percent smaller than the typical desktop minitower, and uses up to 70 percent less energy. In addition to being extremely energy efficient and Energy Star 4.0 compliant, the Studio Hybrid’s unique packaging was designed to be environmentally responsible:

· Reduced packing materials 30 percent by weight.

· Packing materials are also 95 percent recyclable.

· Reduced printed documentation 75 percent by weight.

· System recycling kit is included.

The Studio Hybrid can personalized with a choice of seven optional, interchangeable external finishes or color sleeves, one of which is made from bamboo.

Some of that information I found subsequently on the Hybrid page if you click on the Design tab about half-way down.

It is superb to see manufacturers being more responsible in their latest PC models but come on Dell, a machine as Green as this should at the very least have a dedicated page highlighting its Green credentials.