On March 28 I had the pleasure of moving to our new office building on the scenic SAS campus in Cary, NC. This aesthetic and functional structure houses the sales, marketing, and SAS executive management offices, as well as a generously appointed Executive Briefing Center for hosting our visiting customers.
Having moved over from the SAS R&D building, this is quite a treat. I now have a window and overlook the grassy knoll that is the roof of the EBC. Across the meticulously manicured lawn there is a peaceful overlook of the best landscaped water retention pond in the county, and a large statue of what appears to be the Greek letter Pi (either that or a stainless steel tribute to Stonehenge). Let’s just call it Pihenge to make sure both bases are covered.
Anyway, the new building is designed around renewable resources and energy efficiency, and is up for the vaunted LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification. It isn’t easy being green, but they have achieved it with the following features (Source: Lisa Arney, “Saving Energy at SAS,” news@sas, March 11, 2011):
•High-efficiency exterior building glass that conserves energy through increased insulation and light reflection.
•Thermal solar panels installed on the roof supply hot water at 140 degrees for kitchen use and 110 degrees for occupant use.
•A 73 kW photovoltaic system, also on the tower roof, captures direct, diffused and reflected light to provide electricity directly to the building.
•Regenerative drive elevators estimated to be 66 percent more efficient than typical elevators.
•One-acre rooftop garden covered with a low maintenance, hardy plant called sedum, which will reduce the urban heat island effect, storm-water runoff and provide insulation for the rooms beneath the planted area.
•Excess rainwater is stored in a retention pond out back.
Building amenities are also touched by a concern for the environment, such as serving locally farmed produce in the cafeteria. Perhaps the only bad thing about all this ecological consciousness is the coursely textured (and presumably recycled?) toilet paper – like what you’d find in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, or on a whaling vessel.*
On the topic of restrooms, large-screen monitors have been looping video describing the building’s exciting new features. Among other factoids, the video explains how untreated rainwater is used to flush the toilets – and is dyed purple to remind us it is non-potable. (Apparently we needed to be told not to drink out of the toilets -- a behavior I might be concerned about at the R&D building or humane society, but not here.)
This leads us into the topic of unnecessary information, which we will cover in the next installment of The BFD...