On our Commercial Development projects, for which we control both the design and construction of the buildings, we have a unique opportunity to test out innovative approaches and new technologies. To advance sustainability, we require that every Commercial Development project implement a new green feature that our teams have not tried before. It’s exciting to test the latest advances in sustainable design, and we’ve seen some incredible results from this approach.
The energy dashboard at 1776 Wilson Boulevard tracks employee’s energy consumption.
Here are four recent and noteworthy examples of sustainable features we’ve incorporated into projects:
1) Rainwater reclaim system: On our 150 Second Street project in Cambridge, Mass., we installed a 3,000-gallon underground storage tank that captures and filters rainwater to be used to flush toilets. This system is designed to reduce potable water in sewage by 85 percent.
2) Chilled beams and a phase-change material tank: Stone34 is one of the first projects in Seattle’s Deep Green Pilot Program, an ambitious platform that requires buildings to reduce both energy and water usage by 75 percent. To reach this goal, Stone34 is implementing innovative technologies that include chilled beams and a phase-change material tank (both enable highly efficient heating and cooling).
3) Energy monitoring: At the Skanska office at our 1776 Wilson Boulevard project in Arlington, Va., an extensive submetering system tracks the energy used by the whole office, as well as at each workstation. The energy used by each employee is prominently displayed on a monitor, inspiring a bit of competition to see who can use the least amount of energy!
4) Carbon-efficient concrete mixes: Working in partnership with the University of Houston, carbon emissions were tracked with academic rigor on 3009 Post Oak Boulevard in Houston. This effort even included surveying craft workers on how they commuted to the jobsite. We found that 80 percent of the project’s carbon emissions came from the concrete, emphasizing the need for more carbon-efficient concrete mixes.
By pushing ourselves to try new green technologies, our development projects serve as test kitchens of sustainability. In this way, we’re trying to find the green features that are most beneficial, demonstrate them to others and build them into future projects. Even though the straight monetary value of adding green features may not be realized until years into the future, we’re excited to be exploring innovative concepts that are helping to improve the environmental performance of the built environment and provide value to our tenants.