Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Adobe gets highest green award

The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded Adobe Systems its highest honor, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certifications for two of Adobe's headquarters towers in San Jose, CA. This makes Adobe the first commercial company to get a total of three platinum certifications under the LEED program.

LEED certification is based on six categories: sustainability, water efficiency, energy efficiency and atmospheric quality, use of materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovations in upgrades, operations and maintenance.

To achieve its most recent platinum ratings, Adobe invested more than a half million dollars over the past five years for energy and environmental upgrades like drought tolerant landscaping, automatic adjustment of building exhaust fans based on carbon monoxide levels, and improving indoor air quality. This has saved the company over $728,000 so far, which is about 115% return on investment (not bad).


Dank said...

Any idea on improvements in reducing the upfront costs of meeting LEED certification? I know when the Bren School was built 5 years ago, meeting Silver cost nothing, meeting Gold cost them about 2% more upfront, and I believe Platinum was ~10% more.

One of the problems of getting people to go with green buildings is that the costs are upfront, while the benefits are delayed for years after, so short-term budget horizons can cause problems. I was wondering if those upfront costs have dropped at all in the last 5 years (I'm assuming they have, but aren't sure!)

Maria Energia said...

Hey dank,

Sorry for taking awhile to get back to you, I had to look into it a bit.

To my surprise, it doesn't look like costs have come down that much in the past 5 years, although of course the numbers vary from project to project. An architect in Chicago said that Silver costs about 5% more, Gold is 10% and Platinum is 15%.

That's about in the range of other projects I looked up - many actually less than those numbers.