By Michael A. Lahue
With increasing amounts of scientific research regarding global warming and the resulting heightened public awareness of the role humans play in processes of environmental degradation, it has become apparent that effective solutions must involve ubiquitous and comprehensive transformation. We are an integral part of our natural environment and with an awakened understanding of our uniqueness as planetary stewards, we must envision and create our present and future in harmony with nature. Since the founding of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1993 research has shown that buildings account for up to 48% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings also consume significant amounts of water, raw materials and electricity and produce large quantities of waste. High-performance properties (green buildings) significantly reduce their impact on the environment and human health.
A commercial green building is considered to be one certified by the LEED (Leader in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System of the USGBC. The LEED rating system is categorized as follows: New Construction (NC), Commercial Interiors (CI), Core and Shell (CS), Existing Buildings (EB), Homes (H) and Neighborhood Development (ND). Within each category buildings are rated at the Certified, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels. Green buildings yield important benefits to owners, managers, businesses and employees compared to conventional (“brown”) construction including increased occupant health and well being, building value, worker productivity and return on investment. As the economic benefits of high performance buildings are more widely recognized, non-green buildings may likely become obsolete. Architecture 2030, NGO and partner of the American Institute of Architects, has proposed that by 2030 all new buildings should operate as carbon neutral.
The major concern often raised when considering the design of a high-performance building is cost. On first mention, green construction sometimes triggers a perceived higher cost, possibly because of the newness of the concept. Fortunately, through the application of integrated design, high-performance buildings can be designed on conventional budgets. Efficient equipment such as HVAC, coupled with an efficient building that requires less energy to run, allows for efficient and smaller systems, thus reducing overall cost.
The Shaklee Corporation World Headquarters, Hacienda Campus, in Pleasanton, CA is a LEED Certified building designed by world-renowned architect, Gensler, to make a people-friendly, earth-friendly space that reflects Shaklee’s commitment to Living in Harmony with Nature®. I had the opportunity to visit the site in 2006 at the Shaklee 50th Anniversary Global Conference in San Francisco. No matter where you are in the building, you can see sky, trees, hills and fields. Advanced architectural design brings the beauty of outdoors inside with natural light, natural materials, and natural colors.
Hacienda Campus key green attributes include:
Sustainable building materials such as wood panels and doors that were harvested from certified sustainable forests.
Carpet squares from Interface that are made of recycled materials.
Task chairs made of recycled materials.
Carefully landscaped grounds that are a living herbal library representing the botanical ingredients in Shaklee products.
Motion sensors that turn equipment and lighting on and off to conserve energy.
Window shades controlled by electronic sensors that allow 80% of the light in while shading the building interior spaces from heat.
Low-E glass used throughout the building to promote maximum energy efficiency.
Under-floor air distribution for energy efficiency and indoor air quality.
Sweeping open spaces that encourage a healthy flow of ideas, information, and, of course, fresh air.
Gathering spaces around a family-style hearth and gas fireplace.
Intelligent site orientation and proximity to public transportation.
At the Hacienda Campus, Shaklee has created a healthy and happy workplace that accurately reflects the company’s philosophy and is inspiring to visitors.
Green building ultimately is a question of conscience and responsibility to prepare a healthy and sustainable future for generations to come. Humans have coexisted in nature for millennia and only flocked in large numbers to industrialized urban centers in the past 150 years. In that process we adopted lifestyles detached from natural processes. Today, through the green building revolution, we have an opportunity to reintegrate our urban culture with the natural environment and reconnect with our indigenous roots in a way that is congruent with modern culture and that guarantees our own future on the planet.
“Shaklee Headquarters,” Shaklee Corporation Website, http://www.shaklee.com/company_headquarters.shtml.
Yudelson, Jerry. Green Building A to Z: Understanding the Language of Green Building. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 2007.
. Green Building Revolution, The. Washington: Island Press, 2008.
For more information about Shaklee products and the business opportunity, contact Michael & Suélen Lahue at info@SalusNaturalis.com or visit SalusNaturalis.MyShaklee.com.
About Shaklee Corporation
Founded more than 50 years ago, Shaklee has been a leading provider of premium-quality natural nutrition products, personal care products, and environmentally friendly home care products. In 2000, Shaklee became the first company in the world to be Climate Neutral™ certified to totally offset its CO2 emissions, resulting in a net-zero impact on the environment. Through Social Marketing™, Shaklee offers an economic opportunity to anyone regardless of background or experience, and has paid more than $4 billion in commissions to its independent distributors worldwide. With a robust product portfolio, including over 50 patents and patents pending, Shaklee has more than 750,000 Members and Distributors around the globe and operates in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, and China. For information about Shaklee, visit www.Shaklee.com.
About the USGBC
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a nonprofit organization whose vision is a sustainable-built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to include more than 17,000 member companies and organizations; a comprehensive family of LEED green building rating systems; an expansive educational offering; the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org); and a network of 78 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.