Office Buildings: More than Marketing at Herman Miller

July 1, 2003
Maximizing Building Performance Through Environmental Strategies - PROJECTS
In Zeeland, MI, employees at Herman Miller’s MarketPlace can attest to the company’s commitment to the environment. They work in a building constructed with “green” in mind. “It’s part of our core values as a company to focus on sustainable design, not only in our products, but also in the environments that we occupy. And so it was very key to us that even though this would be a leased facility, that it further an environmental agenda,” says Lori Gee, site lead, Workplace Strategy and Facilities, Herman Miller Inc., Zeeland, MI.Teaming with the owner/ developer, the Granger Group of Companies of Lansing, MI; Grand Rapids, MI-based Integrated Architecture; IA Interior Architects, Chicago; and contractor, Triangle Associates of Walker, MI, Herman Miller’s vision was realized and the two-story, 95,000-square-foot office building, MarketPlace, was recently completed. Construction time for the facility was a mere six-and-a-half months, due to the intellisys™ process (, a strategy developed by the Granger Group of Companies that delivers flexible and efficient facilities economically, and in short periods of time. Construction costs for MarketPlace were approximately $89 per square foot – one-third less than Herman Miller’s typical reference points. Operating costs are running at 41-percent below other Herman Miller facilities as well.When the facility applied for LEED certification, it was awarded an extra point for exceeding the requirements for recycled content. The steel frame building has a pre-cast concrete façade that included fly ash in the concrete mix. Composite boards composed of agricultural fiber waste cover walls. Carpets, drywall, and acoustical ceilings also contain recycled content.Ask building occupants if their building is Class A, and they’ll undoubtedly answer, “Yes.” Architects at Integrated Architecture worked closely with Herman Miller to deliver a facility that lives up to Class A standards – without the marble and other high-end finishes typical of Class A buildings. “We’ve basically tried to redefine to some degree what are considered luxuries in the office building environment. We placed a high value on natural light. We placed a high value on healthy interior finishes, [and] healthy products on the inside,” explains Michael C. Corby, executive vice president and design principal, Integrated Architecture, Grand Rapids, MI.It’s a win-win situation for occupants and operators. The daylight-infused space (transmitted through 12-foot windows), non-off-gassing materials, intense monitoring for carbon dioxide, and an efficient mechanical system maximize comfort for Herman Miller’s MarketPlace employees. Their happiness didn’t compromise building performance, either. “We achieved an energy performance level which is about 45- to 50-percent higher than ASHRAE 90.1, which is the minimum that LEED sets as a prerequisite. Anybody that knows anything about energy performance will tell you that is a fairly extreme target to shoot for,” Corby says. “We’re really running at 37-percent below our operating costs at similar facilities. Thirty-seven percent! That’s going to be over a million dollars over the life of the building – it’s nothing to bat an eye at,” Gee concludes.Waterless urinals, low-flow washroom fixtures, and drought- resistant landscaping were implemented with water conservation in mind. Additionally, Herman Miller is investing in green power. “We have one of the first large [contracts] in the state,” Gee explains.Talk to MarketPlace occupants in their superior environment – great indoor air quality, views to the outdoors, maximum comfort – and they’ll agree: Environmentally friendly design is the right thing to do.

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