LEED O+M: Existing Buildings v3 - LEED 2009
Re-certification: Adobe SF 601 Townsend
LEED Platinum 2012
The below stakeholder perspectives address the following LEED credits:
EAc3.1, EAc3.2, EAc4, MRc6, MRc7, MRc8, WEp1, WEc1
Goals and motivations
What were the top overarching goals and objectives?
The top goals for this project were to:
- Reduce energy and related costs
- Improve operating efficiency
- Provide a healthier workplace environment
What were the most notable strategies used to earn LEED credits?
In order to more centrally manage building operations, Adobe and Cushman & Wakefield partnered with Integrated Building Solutions to develop IBIS (Intelligent Building Interface System), a web based monitoring and control system. The program displays building energy and water consumption and carbon emissions in real time using Adobe Flash and Air to create enhanced graphic representation of building operations in real time. Based on past history, the system predicts energy usage and through the CMMS (computerized maintenance management system), actually generates its own work orders to the building operating engineers to correct investigate and correct as required, variances in building operations from what was predicted. By identifying these aberrations through this program and addressing them, Adobe has realized hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy savings.
Photo by George Denise Sr.
IBIS (intelligent building interface system) is a web-based monitoring system developed by Adobe which displays energy and water use by the building’s various systems and sub-systems using enhanced graphics to show the buildings operations three-dimensionally in real-time.
Adobe has taken IBIS a step further to implement further energy conservation measures in renovating the conference rooms at 601 Townsend Street. Through utilization of a combination of motion sensors for overhead lighting and HVAC air supply vents and motion activated power strips in conjunction with IBIS monitoring, Adobe has created the SmartFloor. When the rooms are occupied, and therefore there is motion in the room, lighting remains on, air-supply vents remain open, and plug load remains energized. Following this initial success, SmartFloor has now become the template for all Adobe build-outs. The program is used in conjunction with open floor plans which allow maximum use of daylighting to supplement artificial lighting. Space is divided into neighborhoods of eight occupants each, each neighborhood representing one zone. When no one is in the neighborhood, the overhead lighting, the air-supply, and the plug load all shut down (PCs are on separate circuits, so they stay on). If someone re-enters the neighborhood, the air-supply goes back on and the plug load for their workstation energizes, but the lighting stays off unless they turn it on. Since we have so much daylight with the open floor plans, and since everyone is working at their computer with backlit monitors, most people do not bother turning on the overhead lights. We have found that the average employee is in his or her work station about 38% of the time, and that overhead lighting is left off over 90% of the time. Even in buildings that already have Energy Star scores of 100, Adobe has been able to reduce electricity usage by 65%, realizing a payback of less than three years.
Photo by George Denise Sr.
Adobe’s SmartFloor technology is a combination of motion-controlled overhead lighting, HVAC, and plug-load, coupled with daylighting sensors which track and control space utilization and energy use by zone, resulting in electricity savings of up to 65%.
Solid Waste Management:
Adobe employs an extensive occupant waste reduction and recycling program. Initially, the program sets up office reuse centers to allow reusable supplies to be available for other would-be uses. The program encourages reduction of paper consumption by requiring all copiers to default to double-sided copying. Adobe products, including Adobe PDF, Adobe Connect, and Adobe Form Central facilitate electronic communication in place of printed paper and travel. All paper waste that is produced, as well as cans, bottles, and plastics are diverted from landfill either through composting or recycling. All food waste is also composted. Take-out food service products are made from paper pulp or food starch so that they can be composted, too. Adobe partners with vendors like iRreuse to assist non-profits to source furniture and equipment that Adobe no longer needs. E-waste, including lamps and batteries, is recycled through vendors specializing in this commodity. Fully 93% of the solid waste generated by Adobe from their San Francisco site is diverted from landfill.
Photo by William Porter
All faucets are automatically controlled by motion sensors and shut off after 12 seconds of flow. Low-flow aerators (0.5 gallons per minute) were installed on all faucets and low-flow shower heads (1.6 gallons per minute) were installed in the showers. High-efficiency dual flush toilets were installed in the women's restrooms and water free urinals and high-efficiency single flush toilets in the men's rooms. The dual flush system provides a higher flush at 1.6 gallons per flush to remove solid waste and a low-flush at 1.1 gallons per flush to remove liquid waste. The single flush system in the men's rooms uses 1.28 gallons per flush. the water free urinals, of course, use no water. Overall, water usage has been reduced 62%.
Adobe installed "next generation" Bloom Energy Fuel Cells in August 2011. These fuel cells, powered by natural gas, generate 62% of the building's total electricity needs. Adobe purchases bio-methane, captured from landfills and dairy farms, to off-set the natural gas used to power the cells, essentially making the process carbon-neutral. Fuel cells do not burn fuel to create energy; rather, they generate it through chemical reaction, similar to the way a battery generates electricity. The process was straight-forward enough. The main difficulty was finding a location for them, as Adobe's San Francisco building occupies almost its entire footprint. One possibility was on the old loading platform, a remnant of the building's historic past as a hardware and warehouse. However, that would have changed the buildings look and character, and as a registered historic landmark, that would not have been allowed.
The solution ended up being on the roof of the adjacent garage, where the fuel cells share space with Adobe's edible garden. Another hurdle was sourcing bio-methane to put into the pipeline to offset natural gas being taken out of it by Adobe. We looked at over 200 companies before we could find one that could meet all or Adobe's requirements, in terms of source, cost, billing and reporting. But the result is that Adobe is effectively providing 62% of their electricity supply using clean, alternative fuel.
Aside from LEED certification, what do you consider key project successes?
The key success of this project has been to demonstrate that a 107 year-old brick warehouse can be saved from the wrecker's ball and with minimal renovation and become a state-of-the-art high performance building. In the words of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, 601 Townsend Street "epitomizes sustainability more than any other building in San Francisco."
Photo by William Porter
601 Townsend was built in 1904-05 as a combination hardware and warehouse. It was re-purposed in 2004 as an office building. The Beaux Arts-detailed brick cladding with operable arch-top windows, the 18” square redwood pillars and beams, and the thick redwood floors inside were all preserved during the building’s renovation.
What one thing saved you or the project team the most time, money, or helped avoid an obstacle during the LEED process? What one thing cost you the most?
The team is using a web-based application tool developed by Zia for Buildings that helps building managers record and store their building operating data in a format that is compatible with LEED. The software provides a centralized place for the team to upload all documents and enter all data and is fully integrated with LEED Online. By providing clear and easy templates for the project team to follow, the Zia system also eliminates the need for hiring a third party consultant. LEED certification is as simple as a push of a button once all required documents have been entered.
Generally, the LEED process is documenting the efficiency of a building's operations. Most of the initiatives undertaken by Adobe to achieve LEED certification were undertaken to achieve greater building operating efficiency. In some cases, the rigorous and methodical process of going through LEED certification helped us discover new operating efficiencies, but the primary driver was always improved operating efficiency and reduced operating costs. Having said that, the most complicated and expensive credit undertaken was achieving Energy & Atmosphere, Credit 4, Renewable Energy. Adobe installed two second generation Bloom Energy fuel cells. The fuel cells use natural gas, but they do not burn it to generate electricity, they generate it through a chemical reaction, similar to the way a battery generates electricity. While the fuel cells operate using natural gas, Adobe purchases a like amount of bio-fuel to put into the pipeline to offset the natural gas it takes out, effectively making the fuel cells a source of clean, alternative energy.
Photo by George Denise Sr.
Adobe’s fuel cells generate electricity from natural gas through chemical reaction. Adobe purchases bio-fuel to offset natural gas used, making the fuel cells effectively a clean, alternative source of electricity.
What was the value of applying LEED to this project?
This project was of significant value in several ways. It provided us with the opportunity to beta-test the Zia for Buildings tool as well as affording us the opportunity to beta-test the new LEED re-certification pilot program . Furthermore, it allowed us to demonstrate our ability to certify this building in-house, saving our client literally tens of thousands of dollars. Finally, re-certification helped ensure that we are operating the building to its fullest potential, maximizing operating efficiency and minimizing operating costs.
So, what do you think? Help us improve our new LEED project library by completing this short survey.