It’s Easy Being Green
By Ashley Lane, Director of Research
With green as our corporate color, it’s no surprise that when we relocated in the fall of 2012, incorporating environmentally friendly and sustainable elements into our new design was non-negotiable. Besides, after several years in the same office space, most of us had grown tired of the inefficient layout and lack of natural sunlight.
The U.S. Green Building Council provides benchmarks to measure the impact of sustainable design – fewer sick days, increased employee output, etc. While we haven’t been here long enough to quantify our improvements, everyone just seems happier.
The first thing people who visit usually comment on is how bright our space is. While not specifically sustainable, our reception area and entryway are a combination of glass and light colored tile, accented by metal. Textured accent walls, artwork and other touches keep it warm and inviting.
We opted out of constructing offices along one of the exterior window lines. This means that those of us who don’t sit near the window still get traces of vitamin D. In addition to the open window line, the walls of the offices are all glass – which means light flows through to the interior of the floor from all directions – a concept known as daylighting. The only parts of the offices’ exteriors that aren’t made of glass are the doors – most of which were refurbished and recycled from another corporate user.
No matter how much natural sunlight comes into our space, we still need electric lighting. Not all, but many of our lights are LED and we installed motion sensors and monitors so that lights automatically turn off when occupants leave their offices.
While our open layout fosters collaboration, sometimes these conversations can become distracting. For this reason, we constructed 4 “huddle rooms” equipped with a telephone and a laptop. Instead of traditional paint, we selected natural wool felt to bring color and texture and to absorb sound. The best part? In 10 years when our lease is up, the felt can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.
Furniture and Decor
When it came to furnishing our new home, we chose products that met the highest certification level of the Building and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association. Our desks, chairs, conference room tables and workstations were all produced in a socially conscious and environmentally friendly manner.
For the flooring of Cassidy Turley’s new home, we selected carpet (100% recyclable at end-of-life), porcelain (made of 40% recycled material) and linoleum (100% bio-based content) tiles. The floor of our kitchen is made of bamboo – a rapidly renewable resource harvested from certified forests.
Moving can be stressful - we’re all still adjusting to the changes. And even though we’ve only been in our new home for 2 months, it’s safe to say we’re all thrilled. The layout, the light and the décor are doing what they were designed to do – creating a healthy, earth-friendly environment that fosters collaboration. With all of these positive changes, I know we’re all excited to see what develops the next 10 (sustainable) years.
And finally, a special thank you to the service providers who guided us through this process: architectural firm Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, furniture vendor Office Solutions, our general contractor Commodore Builders and engineering firm RDK Engineers.