Companies that invest in green buildings not only save money, improve efficiency, and lower carbon emissions, they also create healthier places for people. According to a study by the American Journal of Public Health investigating the effects of green buildings on employee health and productivity, employees who moved from conventional offices to buildings rated for Leadership Energy Environmental Design (LEED) reported a reduction in absenteeism, depression, and stress levels as well as an increase in their sense of happiness.
Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in the late 1990s, LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability, providing third-party verification that a building was built to address energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, and indoor environmental quality. LEED is a holistic rating system that looks at the big picture, factoring in all critical elements that work together to create the best building possible for the people who work there and their visitors.
Hybrid Air Conditioning, Rooftop Greenery
SAP understood this concept from the early days of its global expansion. As the company grew and acquired facilities, it committed to creating workspaces that combined efficiency with employee well-being. Designed with sustainability in mind, SAP Americas headquarters in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, for example, was awarded LEED Platinum level in 2011, receiving high points for energy efficiency, water management, and innovative design.
The building is one-third more energy efficient compared to conventional buildings by using intelligent design features. The building’s sensor system is integrated with exterior shading devices that automatically adjust the lighting and help control the temperature level in the facility. A hybrid air conditioning system produces ice to cool the building during the overnight hours when energy demands and electric rates are the lowest.
The building saves 2 million gallons of water and 2 million kilowatt hours of power per year and reduces SAP carbon footprint by 85,000 tons. Floor-to-ceiling glass exteriors and a green roof, planted with native and regional vegetation, integrate the office with the natural environment surrounding it.