Monday, November 24, 2014

Making a green workspace in a historic building

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Above: A work in progress: renovations at our offices in the Merchandise Mart in 2013.

As creators of many products, environmental design choices and materials selection are hugely important to us. We are passionate about extending that same commitment to other areas of our business, so we were thrilled when the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) granted our new headquarters in Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart their LEED Platinum Certification.The highest level of certification, LEED Platinum means that when USGBC reviewed our 607,000-square-foot office space, it was able to award the maximum points for energy efficiency. As the Mart’s largest tenant we cover most of the top four floors and rooftop. Our 2,000 employees there work in a mix of spaces that include open-plan offices, seven cutting-edge engineering labs, and various multi-purpose spaces, like micro-kitchens, game rooms, and a theater.

The challenge was that the Mart was built in 1930, before energy efficiency was a pressing concern. When we designed and built our new workspace, we worked hard to ensure that it incorporated the latest advances in energy, lighting, and materials to provide a great work environment that was also environmentally friendly. We upgraded power management, lighting and HVAC infrastructure to the latest technology. Among Chicago’s 864 LEED certified projects, only 40 have earned Platinum, with our new home being the largest of all Platinum projects.

We’re very proud of our offices in the Mart, and we’re happy that the USGBC has recognized the work and care that went into making them an amazing workspace.

Posted by Bill Olson

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