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Austin, TX, United States, 2013/11/12 - Resource-efficient office design incorporates reclaimed building materials, low-flow water faucets, high-efficiency lighting, onsite composting, and options for green commuters - GreenMountain.com.
Green Mountain Energy Company announced today that its headquarters in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas, is the city’s first commercial interior to be awarded LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Business Council (USGBC). Pursuing sustainable design and operations aligns with the company’s goal to help make a difference for the environment by providing renewable energy to homes and businesses and reflects Green Mountain’s commitment to preserving the beauty of the city it calls home.
“Earning LEED Platinum certification is the next step on our path to continuous improvement and is a natural fit for us as we work every day to ‘change the way power is made’,” said Jennifer Clymer, Environmental Affairs Manager, Green Mountain Energy Company. “We consciously designed our space to be as resource-efficient as possible so that our employees know that their carbon footprint is smaller just by walking through the door.”
New Space Highlights Practical Design
In addition to standard environmental best practices like onsite recycling, encouraging reusable water bottles and coffee mugs and projecting versus printing meeting materials, the Green Mountain headquarters took additional steps to conserve resources.
• Up-cycled Furnishings: 100 percent of office furniture was reused, and 15 percent of all other materials were repurposed keeping more than half 13 truck-loads of construction waste out of the landfill.
• Powered by Renewable Resources: 100 percent of the electricity powering the office is provided by renewable energy, avoiding an estimated 744,200 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year.
• Green Commuter-Friendly: Changing rooms with showers encourage green commutes and exercise along the nearby Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.
• Water Conscious: Low-flow faucets and dual-flush toilets cut water usage by 50 percent compared to conventional offices, saving nearly 155,000 gallons of water per year; that’s enough to fill 8 residential swimming pools!
• Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Recycling and composting options are strategically placed throughout the office and reusable or compostable plates and utensils are used for meetings and in the break room. Employees can also bring in light bulbs, batteries and plastic bags from home for appropriate recycling.
• Smart Electricity Use: Sub-metered electricity, occupancy-sensing lights and natural lighting help cut down on electricity consumption, saving as much energy as 330 households turning off their lights for a month or unplugging 350 business laptops for a year.
LEED in the Commercial Space
Pursuing sustainable construction is especially important in the commercial space. According to the USGBC, buildings are one of the heaviest consumers of natural resources, accounting for 73 percent of electricity consumption, 14 percent of potable water use and 38 percent of CO2 emissions annually in the U.S. In comparison, a study of federal government buildings found LEED Gold certified buildings consume 25 percent less energy, 11 percent less water, and have 34 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions. Occupants of LEED buildings also report 27 percent higher occupant satisfaction.
“Buildings are a prime example of how human systems integrate with natural systems,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC. “The Green Mountain Energy Company headquarters project efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will tremendously benefit future generations to come.”
Austin Working to Achieve Environmental Goals
The City of Austin has laudable environmental goals, including energy efficiency and renewable energy goals established in the Austin Climate Protection Plan, reducing per capita water use to 140 gallons per person per day, and diverting 90 percent of its waste from area landfills by 2040. Local businesses are working with the City to help achieve these goals through the Austin Green Business Leaders program, which aims to strengthen and promote green businesses. The City recognized Green Mountain as a Platinum Green Business Leader earlier this year, in part for the sustainability efforts we have undertaken as part of achieving LEED certification.
“We are lucky to be surrounded by like-minded businesses and residents in Austin,” said Clymer. “We are thrilled to be the first LEED Platinum tenant-occupied space in town, but hope we’re not the last we welcome others to reflect and improve upon our efficient design and sustainability programs.”
Green Mountain worked with lauckgroup, an acclaimed interior architecture and design firm in Austin, to design the project to be both innovative and sustainable.
The U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities.
The LEED green building program is the foremost program for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings. Over 44,000 projects, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 120 countries, are currently participating in the LEED rating systems.
About Green Mountain Energy Company
Green Mountain (GreenMountain.com) is the nation’s longest serving renewable energy retailer and believes in using wind, sun and water for good. The company was founded in 1997 with the mission to “change the way power is made.” Green Mountain offers consumers and businesses the choice of cleaner electricity products from renewable sources, as well as a variety of carbon offset products and sustainable solutions for businesses. One of Green Mountain’s largest customers is the “world’s most famous office building,” the Empire State Building in New York City. Green Mountain customers have collectively helped avoid more than 24.5 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.