Commercial construction management firm C.W. Brown soon will be keeping good, über-green company. The headquarters of the 80-employee, Armonk-based business will join the likes of the Clinton Presidential Library (Little Rock, AR) and the Bank of America Tower (New York, NY) as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum-certified, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest award.
From October 2009 through January 2010, C.W. Brown spent $2.1 million refurbishing 10,000 square feet of its new 43,000-square-foot headquarters at One Labriola Court in Armonk (the company previously was located in Thornwood). Phase 2 of the renovation will be completed in late 2011.
“We wanted the new office to be a next-generation showcase of earth-friendly products and construction methods,” says CEO Renee Brown, who founded the company with her husband, Charles Brown, in 1984. Although around 20 percent more expensive to build, green buildings are 25 to 30 percent more energy efficient according to a U.S. Green Building Council analysis.
The LEED elements are apparent as soon as you enter: the vestibule has sub-grated flooring so dirt readily comes off shoes. The reception area’s walls are made of reclaimed wood from a New England paper mill and the flooring from eco-friendly cork. All paints and carpets are no- or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds). Solatube skylights bring daylight to interior spaces. Restrooms have no-flush urinals, low-flush toilets, partitions made of 100-percent recycled materials, and recycled milk-jug countertops. In the kitchen: Energy Star appliances, a bottleless filtered water cooler (no plastic water jugs are needed), and no paper goods. The mailroom has flooring made of recycled tires. A computer-based control system (BMS) monitors the building’s temperature, lighting, and ventilation. Thermostats, photosensors, and occupancy sensors are positioned throughout the interior, contributing to energy savings (e.g., lighting will dim if enough natural light is coming in, or turn off if a room is unoccupied for eight minutes).
As for Con Ed bills—C.W. Brown doesn’t have any. “We’re completely off the grid,” says President Charles Brown, “and meet all of our electricity needs with solar power.”