Grainger’s New Data Center First LEED Certified Center

Lake Forest, Ill.-based Grainger, the broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating systems, recently announced that its new data center located in Lake Forest, “…is certified as the world’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] facility of this type,” as stated in a recent Grainger press release.

The new data cenGraingerter features an advanced cooling system where the energy used for cooling the facility is controlled by closely monitoring the air flow using outside air to cool the facility. Due to this feature, Grainger expects the new facility to consume up to 50 percent less energy for cooling compared to similar data centers.

According to the press release, “Data centers usually run nonstop, which means these facilities can consume up to 200 times more electricity than typical office spaces. Most of this energy is used to cool the building as temperatures from IT equipment housed in a data center can reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This Grainger data center’s air cooling design is anticipated to have a best-in-class PUE rating of 1.2 at full capacity; the industry average is 2.0.”

“Our goal is always to build the most sustainable facility possible,” said Gail Edgar, vice president of Grainger Real Estate and Facilities Services. “One of the most important components of the project was to realize significant energy savings by maintaining a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), which measures the energy used beyond the IT load.”

According to Grainger’s Web site, the company is committed to building more buildings up to LEED standards. Grainger became the first industrial distributor to have a LEED-certified facility in 2008. Presently, the company operates 16 LEED-certified buildings in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and construction is underway for its newest facility in Toronto.

The Web site states, “By sharing best practices across facilities, almost all Grainger buildings have adapted some components of LEED certification requirements in areas such as recycling, waste disposal, lighting and cleaning. For example, the company has retrofitted 168 facilities in Canada and the United States with energy efficient lighting, decreasing annual energy consumption by an average of 15 percent per facility.”

The United States Green Building Council’s LEED program “… is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for their project.”

Some Good Green News For Illinois

Illinois is not usually known for “being green” – Chicago’s towering skyscrapers and congested traffic emitting pollution is usually the first image that comes to mind when people think of Illinois. But, Chicago has made many efforts toward helping out Mother Earth, starting with former Mayor Richard J. Daley and continuing with present Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But, for those of use who are native Illinoisans, there is much more to the state than just Chicago – beautiful Lake County to the north of the city and to Southern Illinois with its rolling hills and grand green pastures.

DePaul University's Theatre Building.

DePaul University’s Theatre Building.

Illinois garnered the number one slot with 171 projects at 24.5 million square feet in 2013. Some of the LEED buildings of note include Powell Elementary School, the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the DePaul Theatre School, which was recently awarded LEED Gold certification.

According to a recent USGBC article, “The list of the Top 10 States for LEED is a continuing indicator of the widespread recognition of our national imperative to create healthier, high-performing buildings that are better for the environment as well as the people who use them every day,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC.

Also noted in the USGBC article, Governor Quinn stated, “Both the public and private sectors in Illinois recognize that long-term investments in the 21st century infrastructure should be done in ways that reduce energy consumption and protect the environment…Illinois is proud to be the nation’s green buildings leader.”

 

 

Chicago Businesses Go Green – Part I

An increasing amount of businesses are going green, especially here in the Chicago area. Why should businesses go green? It just makes sense – if big businesses can make the effort then us as citizens can make the effort. It shows us that businesses have a heart too and care about their carbon footprint. Recently, two buildings who house green businesses received LEED Platinum Certification.

In May 2013 the country’s largest sustainable business community, Chicago’s Green Exchange, was awarded LEED platinum status. The Green Exchange houses a variety of businesses all which have included sustainability in their mission – from GreenChoice Bank to the Institute for Workforce Education, a division of Augustana University; Climate Cycle, which educates children about the environment and climate change to Ale Syndicate, a local brewery unique to Chicago.

Located at 2545 W. Diversey in Chicago,”The building features a large open foyer, an 8,000 square foot organic sky garden with an on-site restaurant in the works, and beautiful open event space with an abundance of natural sunlight, all of which are available to tenants and the public alike for special events. Other features include a state-of-the-art green roof, an organic garden, a chicken coop, a 41,329 gallon rain cistern to allow water to be captured and reused, energy efficient windows, an energy efficient escalator, and much more, ” which was noted in a May 24, 2013 Chicago Tribune article.

Set in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood, the Green Exchange was developed by Baum Developers, who, according to the Web site, are “…passionate about development projects in sprouting neighborhoods and is continually acclaimed for the preservation of historic and architecturally significant landmarks.”

The Green Building Exchange was the home of the Vassar Swiss Underwear Company and is also the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project for turning this historic building into a successful business center.