As a firm, we focus so intensely on serving clients that people can forget we have our own commitment to energy and sustainability to fulfill. The news this week that we have gained LEED for Commercial Interiors Gold certification for our Denver office serves as a reminder that we are following through on that commitment.
The Denver office at 1225 Seventeenth Street is our first U.S. office to be certified at the Gold level. Three other offices around the country are certified at the Silver level, and several more offices are anticipated to be certified this year. Globally, our greenest office is our Platinum certified Hong Kong office, which gained (replace “gained” with “earned”) 95 out of a possible 100 points, the highest point count of any LEED project to date in the world”.
Why aren’t all of our offices certified? In truth, the potential for LEED is just one factor we consider as we expand or upgrade our U.S. offices. Our main focus is to create work environments that maximize the productivity of our people. Sustainability can lead to greater productivity, but other factors, such as the layout of workstations and the number of meeting rooms, are likely to (replace “are likely to” with “may”) have a bigger impact.
We also have to consider the cost of certification. For spaces under 10,000 square feet, it’s often difficult to justify the cost of certification, particularly if the building we’re in is not conducive to sustainability (replace “conducive to sustainability” with “LEED certified or at least LEED-friendly”). However, even in situations where we decide not to pursue LEED certification for our space, we always incorporate sustainability into as many aspects of our office as possible (i.e., when incorporating sustainability makes good business sense). We still apply our standards for furnishings, lighting and ENERGY STAR computers and copiers, and make sure buildings use green cleaning supplies and follow other sustainable practices. So we get the benefits of being green even if LEED is not in the cards.