Kimberly-Clark Corporation received another environmental accolade, achieving its first ever LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its Kimberly-Clark Professional headquarters building (Building 100) in Roswell, Ga.  The building obtained LEED Certification under the LEED for Existing Buildings:  Operations & Maintenance program for existing and new practices in energy use, water use, and indoor environmental quality.

“Kimberly-Clark Professional’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” says Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council.  “This project efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will tremendously benefit future generations to come.”

“As one of Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s four global businesses, Kimberly-Clark Professional shares in our company-wide commitment to being a responsible steward of the environment and positive contributor to our communities,” says Suhas Apte, vice president, Global Sustainability, Kimberly-Clark.  “Sustainability remains a focus of everything we do, as we strive to lead the world in essentials for a better life -- from the sourcing of our raw materials and the design of our products, through manufacturing and distribution, and ultimately product use and disposal.  This focus is embodied in our Reduce Today, Respect Tomorrow philosophy.  Our sustainability approach is embraced by our engaged employees and in the maintenance and operation of the buildings they work in.  This recognition exemplifies our team’s efforts in creating a sustainable and healthy work environment.”

Reduce Today, Respect Tomorrow takes a bigger-picture approach to environmental sustainability:  Reducing the use of natural resources throughout the entire product lifecycle.  This big-picture approach helps the company design products to eliminate waste from the start. 
 
Sustainability Benefits

To obtain the LEED for Existing Buildings:  O&M Certification, the Roswell North Atlantic Facilities Management (NAFM) team focused on water efficiency, energy efficiency, the use of sustainable materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.  Fortunately, the facility already had many environmentally sustainable features in place, but the NAFM team also made several improvements to the four-story, 80,000-square-foot building, which houses about 350 employees and was originally constructed in 1980.  Key achievements and resulting benefits include:

Water Efficiency — Changing one gallon-per-flush restroom urinals to one pint-per-flush urinals, which helped the building reduce water use by 99,140 gallons per year.

Energy Efficiency — Improving the building’s EPA Energy Star rating from 72 to 79 after a comprehensive building commissioning and operational improvements which reduced energy use by 548,084 kilowatt hours per year, resulting in an energy cost savings of more than $40,000 and a maintenance cost savings of $2,605 per year.

Sustainable Materials & Resources — Increasing the recycling of office materials from paper and cardboard only to also include aluminum cans, glass, and plastic bottles, thus diverting 5,300 pounds of waste from the landfill. Using copy paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Using paints, carpet adhesives and other materials that have low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Maintaining a furniture re-use program that limits the need to buy new furniture. Using low-mercury-content fluorescent bulbs throughout the building.

Indoor Environmental Quality — Increasing the amount of outdoor air in the building from 1-5 cfm/person to more than 10 cfm/person. Reducing HVAC system operation from 24x7 to hours of occupancy only, resulting in an estimated energy savings of more than $39,000 per year. Instituting 100 percent occupant-controlled lighting in individual workstations and multi-occupant spaces – an achievement that qualifies as “exemplary performance” by USGBC.
Instituting a Green Cleaning program that replaced paper towels and other paper products used for cleaning with WypAll brand microfiber cleaning cloths and dusters.  This change also significantly reduced the amount of cleaning chemicals and water used for cleaning. Using restroom paper products that meet U.S. EPA Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines requiring a minimum percentage of post-consumer recycled content.  All paper products used in Building 100 and throughout the entire Roswell campus are manufactured by Kimberly-Clark Professional, which achieved FSC chain-of-custody certification for a broad range of Kleenex brand and Scott brand tissue and towel products in August 2009.

Best Practices
“As we pursued LEED certification for this building, many of the best practices we developed were quickly adopted by other buildings on our campus,” says Environmental/Safety Coordinator, Sonny Longo, LEED Project Administrator.  “A perfect example was including bottles and cans in our recycling program for all campus buildings.  This resulted in a campus-wide waste diversion from landfill of more than 32,000 pounds in 2009.  We’re also in the process of evaluating 15 of our office buildings in the U.S. for potential certification and identifying which of those buildings will achieve LEED certification over the next five years.”
 
Commitment to the Process
Longo notes that the certification process took about two years, and while the building already had many sustainable practices in place, the certification process did require an investment in time and resources.

“The time and energy invested were well worth it,” he said.  “It allowed us to set the highest standard for others to follow.  I would encourage other companies and organizations – even those with older buildings – to take the steps needed to obtain this environmental achievement.”

Indeed, USGBC bestowed an Innovation in Operations credit to Kimberly-Clark Professional’s Roswell building for the education program the company developed to present the project’s sustainable design practices to occupants and visitors to the facility.  The program includes an educational display highlighting the building’s sustainable design features and a case study posted on the company web site.