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Dazzling Energy & Water Efficiency at PAOC and VMWare in Palo Alto

LEED Certification Ceremony. (See full identifications of everyone in story.) Photo courtesy: D.Katz.
LEED Certification Ceremony. (See full identifications of everyone in story.) Photo courtesy: D.Katz.

By Debra Katz, City of Palo Alto: 

Many pay lip service to “being green” and “promoting sustainability,” but two very different kinds of business locations in Palo Alto are garnering both recognition and big savings for going way beyond talking the talk... Palo Alto Mayor Nancy Shepherd emphasizes how companies like these who do the right green thing don’t just help themselves, but help all of Palo Alto...and for that matter, everyone on the planet! 

Here’s the scoop on who did what: 

1) 
Palo Alto Office Center is Golden---“LEEDing the way” with a perfect score Palo Alto Office Center (525 University Avenue), who previously had earned LEED Platinum certification, has knocked the ball out of the park in 2014 with a recertification proposal that earned them a perfect score---72 out of 72 LEED credit points attempted---and are now LEED Gold certified. 

This achievement also makes them the first building to be awarded LEED for Existing Buildings Recertification in the City of Palo Alto. Among the reasons PAOC is certifiably awesome: 
  • Their ENERGY STAR® score of 93 shoots them into the top 7% of all comparable office buildings nationwide
  • Their occupants demonstrate an amazing alternative commuting rate of over 37%
  • By continually updating an ongoing efficiency improvement program, increasing energy savings has become routine
  • They keep the joint clean with products super-green
  • They conducted multiple operational audits and surveys to monitor indoor air quality, cleaning effectiveness and occupant comfort
 The United States Green Building Council has a simple goal:  “transforming the way we design, build, maintain and operate our buildings, homes and communities.”

To that end they developed the prestigious national LEED certification process, to rate buildings and their operations in terms of their energy efficiency, encouraging businesses to light the way towards profitable sustainability. 

2) VMWare Reinvents the Efficient Corporate Campus 

When VMWare World Headquarters (3401 Hillview Ave)decided to do a major makeover of their sprawling Palo Alto facilities, they committed to creating a campus that was, as Mayor Nancy Shepherd remarked, “a model of energy efficiency.”  

VMWare’s design and construction teams worked closely with Palo Alto Utilities staff to ensure the company took full advantage of the incentives, rebates and construction efficiency services available to them. 

Given that all new construction must now meet very stringent current Title 24 and California Green Building standards---the fact that VMWare exceeded those standards is positively heroic! 

Among the progressive features VMWare incorporated in their new campus design are a 1 megawatt solar system and 56 reserved parking spaces for electric vehicles. Showing dramatic support for Palo Alto’s need for water use efficiency, 85% of VMWare’s new landscaping is native and drought-tolerant. 

In addition to the Mayor, City Manager Jim Keene, Council Member Larry Klein and Stanford President John Hennessey were on hand last night to join VMWare executives and employees at an event celebrating their achievement.

(In group photo featured with this story: LEED Certification Ceremony Photo IDS--from left to right
Gary Thomas – Director CBRE LEED Consulting
Emily Kirk Wilson - Program Manager CBRE LEED Consulting
Dave Pogue – CBRE (Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis) Global Director of Corporate Responsibility
Rina Bhagwati – CM Capital Managing Director and Director, Real Estate Operations
Dennis Murphy - Board Member of the Northern California Chapter US Green Building Council
Bruce Madding – CM Capital CEO
Nancy Shepherd - Mayor of City of Palo Alto
Josh Wallace - City of Palo Alto Utilities Rep
Gail Price – Palo Alto City Council Member
John Couch – CM Capital Vice Chairman
Chris Boretta – CBRE Senior Real Estate Manager.) 
Debra Katz June 02, 2014 at 11:02 AM
AUTHOR'S CORRECTION--The PAOC previously (2009) were awarded GOLD certification (LEED) not PLATINUM. The PAOC actually improved their score in 2014 to the point that this same score WOULD have earned them Platinum certification back in 2009, but since then the bar has been raised such that their much higher score is still at the "Gold" level. Today, primarily giant corporations with extensive resources can afford the improvements that earn Platinum status. Any way you slice it, PAOC should be proud of their exemplary achievement and their leadership role in lighting the path towards a sustainable future.

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