Aviva U.S.A. unveiled its new corporate headquarters to the public Thursday, showing off a building the insurance and annuities company hopes will win certification as one of the “greenest” in the country. Aviva director of buildings and facilities, Michael Hartschen, says the planning to make the building green began with the 88-acre campus. Hartschen says only six acres of the 88 acres will be irrigated, and that will be done with a rainwater recovery system.
Hartschen says the system includes three ponds, streams and a waterfall in the courtyard of the building. He says they will “save immensely” by not having to spend money to mow large green areas. Some areas that aren’t mowed or irrigated grow natural grasses. Hartschen says the buildings themselves were built to be as efficient as possible when it comes to energy use.
He says every component of the heating and cooling system was designed to be energy efficient, and the glass was designed to absorb and reflect light, and an automated system adjusts the indoor lighting during the day as the sun travels around the building. Hartschen says the heating system mixes air heated by sunlight through the windows with other air and sends it throughout the building to keep the temperature where it needs to be. Each employee can also regulate their workspace with an individual control on the system. Another automated system allows employees to adjust their desks.
Hartschen says the individual workstations have a motorized desk top and that allows the employee to raise or lower the height of the desk so they can stand or sit at the desk. There are break room areas on each of the eight floors of the building which include a balcony that looks into the courtyard. The cafeteria includes a composting system to handle the waste generated by the 1,300 employees.
Hartschen says they heat the compost material to dry it out and they are able to take about two weeks of waste and shrink it down into a 50-gallon container. The waste material is then used by the local landfill where it is added to other composted material from the landfill. The company is seeking a “gold level” certification for the $150-million building from the Green Building Council. They hope to find out about that certification in November.