The new global headquarters of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) officially opened in February this year offers a strong case study of the application of sustainable workplaces. The Houston-based “Service Center of Excellence,” employs innovative technologies and techniques to benefit the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.
“The IFMA Service Center of Excellence was conceived, designed and built around the core concepts of sustainability, usability and productivity,” said Marina Badoian-Kriticos, the sustainability director at IFMA. “By knowing exactly what we wanted to achieve from the beginning, IFMA found ingenious ways to integrate sustainable features and behaviors into the facility in manners that improve productivity and save money. We drew from some of the best tried and true facility management ideas of our 23,000 members from 78 countires around the world, making this a truly collaborative accomplishment.” The Center of Excellence opted for an international approach to colour: red, blue, green and yellow. These colors provide accents throughout the neutral palette of the space. To ensure a timeless space, the flooring, millwork and primary wall colors are medium tones in warm neutral colors.
Sustainable design features of the Centre:
Half the Physical Footprint: One of the most visible improvements with the Service Center of Excellence is a dramatically reduced physical footprint. Through employee mobility, shared workspaces and smart design, the new IFMA headquarters requires only about half the useable square footage compared with the previous space. The smaller, smarter space not only reduces the environmental impact, but it also saves money and increases productivity.
“Recycled” Space: One strategy the IFMA Sevice Center of Excellence uses to do more with less is applying the concept of recycling to physical space. Just like recycled plastic can be used for something else, modular and convertible office spaces created throughout the facility can be quickly and easily repurposed for multiple uses, allowing one room to serve the function that previously required two or more.
Resource Efficient: Furnishings, finishes and fixtures were chosen with sustainability, as well as aesthetics and function, in mind. To increase efficiency, occupancy sensors were installed facility wide to turn off lights when rooms aren’t in use. IFMA will carefully monitor energy and water consumption in order to refine and improve conservation efforts.
Environmental Connection: To further connect people to each other and their environment, and to reduce the environmental and actual cost of lighting, the layout maximizes the penetration of daylight into the space while promoting line-of-sight views of the outside environment. This breaks down the indoor-outdoor barrier, and is further facilitated by using lower panels between workstations.
Smart Location: Even the location itself – in the heart of Houston’s Memorial City – was chosen with sustainability in mind. The development density and community connectivity means that a host of amenities are within walking distance. The building itself is a high-performance facility with an ENERGY STAR ® rating of 98.
Commuter Friendly: By utilizing mobile technology, IFMA not only empowers mobility within the workplace, but outside of it. When it is not necessary to physically be in the office, employees can work remotely, allowing them to reclaim time lost in a daily commute while reducing fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, thus lowering the carbon footprint.