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03/01/2004

A Gold Standard

Toyota's model for combining environmental beliefs with business practices.

 
Design Flash

A Gold Standard
Toyota's new complex sets a contemporary model for combining sound
environmental beliefs with smart business practices.

The largest green building complex in the United States officially opened its doors for business as part of 2003 Earth Day celebrations. The complex, the new headquarters of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. in Torrance, CA, is the largest ever to receive a LEED gold rating. Comprised of two main buildings with five "pods" and located on 40 acres of land, the complex has 624,000 square feet of office space and will initially house about 2,000 Toyota associates.

Toyota elected to pursue LEED certification for the new complex as part of the company's Earth Charter guidelines established in 1992, calling on the company to reduce its impact on the environment in every aspect of its business. Building a green complex, however, also had to be based on smart business practices.

"Every decision along the way also had to make good business sense and fall within budget guidelines," said Robert Pitts, Toyota group vice president for administrative services.

"We wanted to show that building an environmentally sensitive office complex does not have to be limited to small or unique projects—or ones with inflated budgets."

Some of the keys to earning gold certification include:

* DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT: The widespread use of materials with recycled content. The project achieved 80-percent recycled content based on LEED calculations including more than 250 miles of reinforced steel used throughout the complex—made up primarily of recycled automobiles. Wood used in construction and for interior finishes, such as doors, was crafted from Forest Stewardship Council certified wood (using trees specifically planted for timber). Additionally, more than 95 percent of construction waste—133 tons—was either recycled or re-used, preventing disposal in landfills.

* ENERGY: The facility houses a 536 peak kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) solar electric rooftop system—one of the largest privately-funded commercial solar electric systems in North America. The system, developed by PowerLight Corp., generates enough electricity during the day to power more than 500 homes and greatly reduces the complex's demand on the local utility grid load during peak hours. It is anticipated that greenhouse emitting gasses will be reduced, including 10,250 pounds of NOx and 12,300 tons of CO2, over the 25-year lifetime of the PV system, which is equivalent to driving 54 million miles or planting 853,000 trees. The EnergyStar™ "Cool Roof" roof system is also coupled with a vast amount of landscaping, which greatly reduces the solar heat load on building without radiating heat into the atmosphere, thus lessening the heat island effect on the microclimate. A thermally-insulated, double-pained window glass reduces heating and cooling energy needs and costs. Finally, the South Campus features an advanced building automation system and utilities metering system to monitor and control energy consumption that will be used as a testing benchmark for future energy conservation initiatives.

In total, the energy-efficiency features such as direct-indirect lighting, high efficiency insulation and thermally insulated glass help the complex exceed State of California energy efficiency targets by more than 20 percent.

* INDOOR AIR QUALITY: To ensure the highest level of air quality upon completion, a rigorous indoor air quality control process was undertaken during construction and low emitting materials, such as clean, low-gas glue and no-gas particleboard, were used for all indoor finishes. All air ducts were kept sealed throughout construction to keep out particle matter, while high technology HVAC equipment eliminated use of greenhouse gas refrigerants. Additionally, the building's copy rooms have a separate ventilation system than the office space to reduce fumes from toners in the work areas.

* WATER: The installation of a special pipeline by the West Basin Municipal Water District to supply recycled water to the complex for cooling, landscaping and restroom flushing. Combined with other efforts to reduce potable water consumption, the complex is expected to conserve more than 11 million gallons of drinking water a year, enough to supply about 68 homes annually.

The complex also features a hydrogen fueling and service station to support Toyota's fuel cell vehicle development program. The station, built in partnership with Stuart Energy, is the first of six planned by Toyota for California as part of its efforts to create a fuel cell community in conjunction with government industry and educational organizations.

A number of companies collaborated with Toyota in pursuit of the LEED certification, including LPA Inc., the architectural firm that designed the complex; CTG Energetics, Inc., a sustainable design consulting firm; and Turner Construction Co., the general contractor. The project design team was awarded the Savings By Design (SBD) incentive from Southern California Edison. SBD provides non-residential customers with project assistance and financial incentives that encourage design and construction of energy- efficient buildings and installation of high-efficiency building systems. In addition, the California Public Utilities Commission Self-Generation Incentive program provided a 50 percent rebate of the installed cost of the photovoltaic solar system. Self-Generation is one of several state-sponsored initiatives intended to help customers and the state manage the affects of the electricity crisis and address on-going air quality concerns.



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