"The greenest building is the one that is already built," remarked architect Carl Elefante. The greenest of the green, then, might be that fine old structure saved from the wrecker's ball and brought up to the state of the art in energy efficiency and all of the other attributes of "greenness." 601 Townsend Street in the South-of-Market district of San Francisco is one such building. Designed by the noted firm of Sutton & Weeks for the Pacific Steel and Hardware Company, the three-story, brick building was completed in 1905, just in time to survive the 1906 earthquake. The ensuing flames that engulfed the city, and the dynamited firebreak that stopped those flames were just one block north of the building. It also survived the later waves of redevelopment that altered so much of the cityscape around it. Remarkably, 601 Townsend reached the 21st century largely intact.

In 2004, the building was purchased by Macromedia Associates and remodeled for the computer age, but with its historic essence preserved. The Beaux Arts-detailed brick cladding remains along with generous arch-top windows. Even the milling marks on the tree-sized redwood beams and pillars, and the old wear patterns on the thick redwood floors are still there. In 2005, Macromedia became part of Adobe Systems Incorporated, and the day-to-day running of the building fell to Adobe's facilities management partner, Cushman & Wakefield. That same year, the structure was nominated for and received a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Next, Adobe and Cushman & Wakefield set out to finish the job of turning the building into productive, state-of-the-art corporate offices and a model of sustainable building operations.

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What were the most notable strategies used to earn LEED credits?

George Denise, Sr.

Global Account Manager, Cushman & Wakefield

Associated credits EAc3.1EAc3.2EAc4MRc6MRc7MRc8WEp1WEc1


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.

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.

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