13 at 11:45 AM
>Adobe's Buildings Go Triple Platinum
>In early December, Adobe Systems announced that the U.S.
>Council has awarded Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design-Existing
>Building (LEED®) Platinum
certifications for Adobe's East and Almaden
>headquarters towers in downtown San Jose,
distinguishing Adobe as the world's
>first commercial enterprise to achieve a
total of three Platinum certifications
>under the LEED program. Adobe's West Tower
was awarded Platinum
>certification last July and was the first
building to be awarded platinum in the
>LEED permanent program for existing
>The LEED Green Building Rating System™, a
>national standard for developing
high-performance, sustainable buildings, was
>designed by leading experts in the
construction industry to promote buildings
>that are economically profitable,
environmentally friendly, healthy and
>productive places to work.
>George Denise, General Manager for Cushman
& Wakefield, Adobe's facilities
>management partner, will describe the
technologies used to achieve the
>platinum certifications, including
intelligent water, electricity, and air
>management systems, and note the savings to
date and the return on investment.
began by explaining that Cushman & Wakefield is a property
meaning that they don't buildings, they just run them. His company
took over at Adobe about
five years ago, when the energy crisis was in full swing.
Because of that and
several other factors, the management was much more
motivated than such people
usually are to go green. Because the payback
from the first few
projects was significant, he had leverage to really make
further changes happen,
which he took advantage of.
George explained that
usually the property management company has no
incentive to reduce
operating expenses. Typically, utilities are a small
percentage of the
overhead, and are passed along to building occupants
on a prorated basis.
Energy costs end up being a small percentage of a
small percentage of the
bottom line, so nothing changes. This was different
because Adobe was the only
client in a large building in an unusual situation.
Many of the changes they
made involved switching to more efficient lighting.
Not only did this save
money on electricity for lighting, but it also saved
money on electricity used
for cooling, because they no longer had to get
rid of the heat from the
hotter bulbs. Other changes involved things like
urinals in all the men's rooms. Sometimes George's
staff had to dance around
low level management that didn't want to
change something, but most
of Adobe was behind the project 100%.
When Adobe first went for
LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design)
certification, they had
invested $888,912 and thought they were already done
with the project, but the
certification process showed them many more
improvements that could be
done. By the end of the project, Adobe had
received rebates of $389,362, and reduced annual
operating costs by
$1,182,145. They also reduced energy use by 35%,
natural gas use by 41%,
domestic water use by 22%, and landscape water
use by 76%. The Return on
Investment (ROI) they got from the improvements
they did before
registering was 106%, and the ROI on later changes was 148%.
In addition to the cost
savings, Adobe still gets a lot of favorable attention for
having Green Buildings at
the platinum level.
During Q & A many
questions were answered.
Replacing high pressure
sodium lighting with low power florescents in the
garages saved 45% on the
lighting bills and made the light better there.
Waterless urinals work
because they have a pee trap with a layer of
alcohol like liquid that
sits on the exit valve to keep the sewer smells in
the sewage system. They
also have highly polished porcelain, so that
all the liquids that fall
in them go immediately down the drain.
Solid waste production was
cut by 80% to 90%. One reason they couldn't
cut it more is that San
Jose won't let them recycle or compost paper towels
from the bathrooms for
Most commercial buildings
aren't designed for energy efficiency. A lot
of energy savings over
current typical uses could be designed in if the
architects wanted to. One
problem is they have no incentive to do so.
One reason more companies
don't invest in these savings is that the ones
that do them keep quiet
about the results.
At the end of the
presentation, I picked up a copy of his speech and a
detailed list of the
projects they did. If you want my copy, let me know
where to send it.