Chevron struck gold twice recently when the Chevron Park headquarters and one of our downtown Houston facilities earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold-level certifications for meeting specific sustainability and energy efficiency standards in building design.
The company's other Houston facility earned silver-level certification.
Our Chevron Park headquarters in San Ramon, Calif., earned LEED Gold certification.
Created by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is now a globally recognized distinction. Attaining LEED certification can be a lengthy, sometimes arduous process. It requires that teams of employees, contractors and vendors work together through detailed lists of requirements and standards, making such high-level certification of our facilities quite impressive.
Chevron Business and Real Estate Services (CBRES) led the team that recently earned our headquarters facility LEED Gold in the "Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance" category, considered the most difficult LEED rating to achieve.
"It involves modifying existing building operating procedures and systems in order to optimize performance," said Ruth Stanton, CBRES facility manager and project decision executive. "Given that the LEED process is very involved, it was gratifying to see the team's success."
This is the first LEED certification of this level and category at any of Chevron's facilities. The Chevron Park project began in 2007.
A number of changes were made at "the park"—constructed nearly 30 years ago—to earn this distinction, though many things CBRES was already doing earned points for LEED certification. For example, the team documented how occupants typically experience significant natural light, which has been linked to improved mood and productivity. Additionally, CBRES consistently redeploys, donates or recycles 100 percent of durable goods such as office furniture—earning the project two LEED points.
New projects included using recycled water to irrigate the landscape, saving approximately 36 million gallons of potable water each year. CBRES also installed "track-off carpeting" at all entryways, which helps eliminate excess dirt in areas of heavy foot traffic, and upgraded air filters to improve indoor air quality. The team also added a new component to Chevron's recycling program: Now, with "mixed" recycling, occupants help CBRES divert 59 percent of the park's waste from the landfill.
And it was through the LEED process that CBRES made changes to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system—changes that will save Chevron hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in utility costs.
In Houston, Chevron earned gold-level LEED certification in the Commercial Interiors category for our facility at 1500 Louisiana, and silver-level certification in the same category for our 1400 Smith facility. For the Smith facility, the certification was based on the entire 1.3 million sq. ft. building, making it the largest building on record to receive that type of LEED certification.
"We are proud to have achieved certification for both of our Houston facilities," said Sarah Werner, construction manager for the project. "However, we did not go into the process with our eyes on as many points as possible. We wanted to do the right thing for the environment and be good stewards of company money. Receiving these awards is icing on the cake."
At the Houston facilities, LEED certification was earned through "sustainable purchasing" (stocking restrooms with recycled paper and using environmentally friendly cleaning products) and a comprehensive transportation program, which includes the local commuter program. The CBRES team also saved water by replacing restroom fixtures with new options that use 50 percent less water and recycled all demolition materials and construction-related waste. Paint and furniture selected for these facilities contained low levels of "volatile organic compounds." And high-efficiency lighting brought a 15 percent efficiency gain over standard lighting options.
The Houston facilities also offer 100 percent covered parking, which reduces the urban "heat island" of high air temperatures caused by sun exposure on large expanses of pavement. Those high temperatures tend to lead to increased energy usage and elevated emissions of air pollutants.
Chevron now boasts eight LEED-certified facilities, including those in Anchorage, Alaska; Covington, La.; Lathrop, Calif.; Richmond, Calif., and Cavendish Square, United Kingdom.
Updated: August 2011