Two landmark Minnesota buildings have been awarded certified ratings of three Green Globes for demonstrating leadership in energy and environmental efficiency and a commitment to continual improvement. Both buildings were assessed using the Green Globes module for Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings (CIEB).
The IDS Center, an iconic skyscraper owned by Inland American Real Estate Trust, Inc. and a centerpiece of downtown Minneapolis, was recognized for, among other things, best practices in energy and water efficiency. Once hailed by the New York Times as "one of the finest skyscrapers in any American city," the mixed-use, post-modern building was designed by renowned architect Phillip Johnson. Completed in 1972, it is comprised of a 57-story office tower with an eight-story annex, two-story retail center and 19-story Marquette Hotel surrounding an enclosed eight-story Crystal Court.
"The IDS Center is a well-run building that has been emphasizing sustainable features as a matter of normal operation for many years," said Michael K. O’Brien, P.E., who was the Green Globes Assessor charged with the building’s certification.
As one might expect with a two million-square-foot structure, the building includes a host of uncommon features that added challenges to the assessment process—such as a sky-high glass curtain wall, 14 miles of plumbing, 45,000 light fixtures, 1,200 VAV boxes and a canopy soaring close to eight stories with 400 skylights over a 24,000-square-foot atrium. "One of the reasons we picked Green Globes over LEED was because of the on-site certification process," said Jim Durda, Vice President and General Manager of the IDS Center. "To reflect our progress, we felt that it was imperative to meet and converse on-site with a Green Globes Assessor. This would not have been possible in the LEED program."
Alternatively, Nate Pommier, Corporate EHS Engineer at Medtronic said the decision to put his company’s 509,483-square-foot world headquarters through the Green Globes process came from a desire to understand the pros and cons of Green Globes compared to LEED. In so doing, he discovered "an approximate overlap of 85% with LEED criteria while achieving similar results in a less costly and onerous manner."
The four-story office building serves the needs of 1,200 daily occupants and features specialized departments that include a laboratory, atrium, educational center, food services area, and meeting spaces. The building received a certified rating of three green globes for achievements in energy, water and resource efficiency, emissions, indoor environmental quality and environmental management.
"At Medtronic we recognize the critical interdependence between human health and the environment," said Doug Fullen, the company’s Corporate Environmental Director. "Our well-being ultimately depends on the health and resources of the planet. For this reason, we continually strive to reduce our environmental impact. Environmental stewardship is a key pillar of corporate citizenship and provides Medtronic with a competitive advantage by reducing costs and managing risks."
Buildings rated or certified using Green Globes are intended to use less energy, conserve natural resources, and emit fewer pollutants in the form of greenhouse gases, airborne particulates, liquid effluents, and/or solid waste. In Canada, for example, BOMA Toronto markets Green Globes CIEB to its members under the name BOMA BESt. As a result of this program, BOMA has collected benchmark data showing that incorporating Green Globes recommendations into a building's operation and management results in significant improvement.