Mindful design leads to a healthy, efficient workplace

(Zondits, 10 Dec 2018) Energy modeling and efficient design increases tenant satisfaction and lowers costs.

A Case Study of White & Case LLP’s New Manhattan Office

Written by Kelly O’Connell, ERS for Zondits, December 10, 2018

White & Case LLP, a leading law firm based in New York City, used its recent office relocation as a chance to design a space that fosters collaboration, promotes employee well-being, and drastically reduces energy consumption. Working with NYSERDA’s Commercial Tenant Program, the firm partnered with Robert Derector Associates (RDA) to develop an energy model of the new space to determine the most viable efficiency measures and a financial analysis to determine which of those measures would be most valuable to the firm.

Commercial tenants can have more agency in leased spaces than one might suspect. By using mindful design and collaborating with the building owner, White & Case was able to save an estimated 1.8 million kWh per year in its space and reduce the building’s annual energy consumption by an additional 1.6 million kWh.

Jack Jenkins, RDA’s Energy and Sustainability Director, describes their coordination with the building management, “When White & Case leased the space, three of the floors were served by dual-duct HVAC: an energy intensive type of HVAC system that tends to simultaneously heat and cool the space it serves. As these were base building systems, they were not directly within the project’s control. However, because of the modeling effort, we were able to demonstrate to the building management team that an alternative proposal – replacing the dual-duct HVAC with more efficient VAV systems – would substantially reduce their energy costs (by approximately $250,000 annually). This convinced the building to undertake the work. It also eliminated the need for White & Case to install a second set of ductwork on these floors, reducing the cost of the tenant build-out.”

The energy modeling process also helped the design team determine a unique opportunity for substantial energy savings – estimated to be about 9% of their annual energy use – by strategically locating specific teams throughout the office space. White & Case’s litigation team tends to work long hours and was previously spread throughout multiple floors, requiring lighting and conditioning for an entire floor even with only a handful of employees present. The design consultant devised a new staff placement plan to group litigation and other late-working teams together on two floors. White & Case also created a system in which after-hours HVAC will only be provided if a request is lodged with their facility management team.

External link

Zondits, 10 Dec 2018: Mindful design leads to a healthy, efficient workplace