When Only Green Office Space Will Do

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Earth911 HeadquartersWhen Earth911 and parent company Quest Resource Management Group (Quest) decided they had outgrown their shared office space and needed a new (shared) home, they decided to go big – big on the small stuff. Big on the small stuff?

By focusing intensely on the small stuff, both companies are poised to reap big benefits in the form of operational efficiency.  For companies that obsesses over reducing waste, it just came naturally to think this way when designing the green office space.

Earth and Quest are currently in the process of pursuing not one, but two, different Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) certifications for their newly constructed (shared) 36,000 square foot office space located north of Dallas, TX;

  • LEED for Building Design & Construction – Core & Shell and
  • LEED for Interior Design & Construction – Commercial Interiors.

A third-party verification program administered by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED® is recognized worldwide as the leader in green building best practices. Management hopes to have both LEED certification projects submitted to the USGBC for review by the end of this year.

Location, location, location

The site of the new green office space was chosen because of its community connectivity and other services within walking distance.  Restaurants, child care, churches, drycleaners and other daily life services (important to employees) are all located within a quarter mile of the new building.

Greening its own operation

Earth911 HeadquartersOnce inside, green office ‘best practices’ can be found throughout the newly constructed corporate headquarters – a building that was designed to enhance employee comfort, satisfaction and productivity.

  • Lighting – Strategically placed high-efficiency LED lighting and ample sky lighting (for natural light) has enabled Quest to reduce lighting usage by 23% compared to like buildings.
  • Water Efficiency – Interior Potable water use has been reduced by over 3% through the use of low flow toilets, urinals and restrooms and kitchen fixtures. Showers have also been installed for employees who wish to walk or ride their bicycles to work.
  • Air Quality/Employee Well-Being – When factoring in air quality, extensive care was taken during all phases of construction. High performance MERV 13 air filters were used during construction and removed and replaced just prior occupancy.  All duct work was sealed off during construction to alleviate dust and other debris from accumulating during the construction process.  Low VOC paints, sealants, and adhesives were used during the construction process.  The carpeting is recycled and all installed cabinetry is urea-formaldehyde free.  All newly installed furniture was low emitting and VOC free.  Finally, Quest also elected to make the entire property non-smoking inside and out.  In addition, a workout room has been installed to promote better employee health and well-being.
  • Material & Resources – During construction, over 50% of construction materials were recycled (as opposed to landfill). Throughout the building, material re-use examples abound. All carpet is 90% post-consumer material, constructed from melted water bottles which have been dyed and re-spun into new carpet.  The companies even took design a few steps further with the addition of ‘line-of-business’ themed meeting spaces and repurposed materials donated from actual client sites.

Design highlights include;

  • Receptionist desk has been crafted of wooden flatbed flooring from old truck trailer. The desk surface has been crafted from recycled tiles.
  • Lobby ceiling is handcrafted from wooden pallets accented with LED pendant lighting.

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  • Guest coffee bar counter top is made from metal scrapings poured into an epoxy, creating a beautiful surface.
  • The ‘Garage’ features a custom made conference room table top crafted from pressed steel. Reclaimed tires have been used for its base. A custom-made tire wall print and LED car head light pendant lighting accent the space.

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  • The‘Retail Lounge’ contains (client) repurposed pallets from and hanging LED lighting repurposed from a preexisting grocery store.
  • Both companies utilize several Chairagami furniture components, furniture crafted from 100% cardboard.

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  • Board Room features custom guest seating and bamboo conference table
  • ‘Naked Board’ has been crafted from reclaimed milk container packaging – cleaned of course.

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  • An insulated (literally) blue jean wall has been crafted from old blue jean, shredded into a ‘fluff’ and given new life as insulation.

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  • Café features counter top surfaces which have been crafted from repurposed broken glass bottles.

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  • The sliding barn doors, marking the space between the Café and Arena, have been crafted using repurposed school bleachers.

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In addition, recycled tires have been used for exterior planters and recycled pallet furniture (handcrafted by a Quest team member) is being used in the kitchen and other areas throughout the space.

Quest RMG - Tire Planters

Quest RMG DIY Pallet Furniture

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Chase Ezell

Chase has served in various public relations, communications and sustainability roles. He is a former managing editor for Earth911.com.