Newell Rubbermaid HQ, Colorado School Earn Green Globes Ratings

Newell Rubbermaid HQ, Colorado School Earn Green Globes Ratings

Newell Rubbermaid's new headquarters in Atlanta has become the first building in Georgia to attain an eco-friendly rating from the Green Building Initiative under its Green Globes environmental assessment system for commercial construction.

The 14-story curvilinear glass building that now houses the 550 employees of Newell Rubbermaid's corporate headquarters received a rating of two Green Globes and was honored in a ceremony Wednesday that included Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.

Adapted from a system widely used in Canada, the GBI's Green Globes is an online interactive tool that enables builders to assess their projects against green standards and have their ratings reviewed by independent third-party assessors, who examine planning documents and conduct on-site inspections to determine whether to confirm ratings. The ratings for the assessment system, which has been available in the U.S. for four years, range from one Green Globe to a high of four Green Globes.

In confirming the structure's eco-rating, the GBI noted environmentally sensitive elements of the 350,000-square-foot building. They included site design that minimizes the structure's impact on its surroundings, water conservation and minimized, if not eliminated, emissions.

The Newell Rubbermaid headquarters has energy-efficient components that include lighting controls, HVAC equipment and building automation systems. Water savings measures include features that conserve use of treated water and fixtures such as low flush toilets. The GBI also said builders used materials made of recycled content.

Other building amenities include a fitness center, an employee store, a product showroom and a cafeteria.

"Our new global headquarters showcases Newell Rubbermaid's commitment to be responsible stewards of our environment," James Sweet, executive vice president of Human Resources at Newell Rubbermaid, said in a statement. "We are experiencing first hand the benefits of green building ... sustainable construction is not only good for the environment, it's also good for employees and business."

Earlier this month in Timnath, Colo., the Bethke Elementary School in the Poudre School District was recognized by the GBI for achieving a rating of three Green Globes for its new 63,000-square-foot, two-story campus for K-5 students.

GBI representative Dave Cunningham presented a plaque bearing the rating to the school district and RB+B Architects Inc. during a ceremony on September 13 to celebrate the new facility that opened at the start of the 2008-2009 school year.

The district and its architect used a team approach to integrated design that emphasized collaboration among engineers, consultants and other stakeholders, the GBI said in citing the project for outstanding achievement.

Eco-friendly features in the building include a state-of-the-art evaporative system that addresses its cooling load and allows the rooms at the campus to be air-conditioned year-round, a super-insulated building envelope, high-efficiency boilers and windows that enable 90 percent of the building to take advantage of natural lighting. The elements create a "healthy and comfortable indoor environment that provides a high level of indoor air quality, effective lighting, thermal comfort and suitable acoustic conditions," the GBI said.

To contribute to the educational environment, the district and its builders decided to display structural and mechanical systems, which are typically not in high-traffic areas, so that students can see the fire sprinkler riser and piping, data management equipment and building monitoring equipment to learn what they do and how they work.

The school is also designed to create a distraction-free zone for classrooms and other learning environments one side of the building and an area for high-energy activity — the gym, cafeteria, music and media center — on the other side.

"The goal of any high performance building is to combine the innovation of environmental design with functionality," Cunningham said in a statement for the building dedication ceremony. "The Poudre School District's Bethke Elementary school not only achieved this balance, but also provides a unique opportunity to teach students, faculty members, as well as community members about the important principles of sustainable design and construction."