>Tuesday  February 13 at 11:45 AM
George Denise
Adobe's Buildings Go Triple Platinum
In early December, Adobe Systems announced that the U.S. Green Building
>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 buildings.
>The LEED Green Building Rating System™, a voluntary, consensus-based
>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.
George began by explaining that Cushman & Wakefield is a property management
company, 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
installing waterless 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
invested $1,362,592, 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 health reasons.

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.

Tian Harter