Case Study for LRN New York Office
“We shape our dwellings and thereafter they shape us.” – Winston S. Churchill, 1944.
Based in New York City and serving a global community, LRN stands out among other business advisors by building legal and regulatory environments that foster ethical cultures. Their corporate philosophy describes Human Operating Systems as influencing the ecosystems of a company. Could a company this forward thinking thrive inside a conventional office space?
“We aspired for every element of our space to manifest our commitment to living sustainable values. We came together and collaborated to ensure that our space reached the highest standards of environmental responsibility and efficiency and at the same time helped shape behaviors we value – transparency, collaboration and community.”
-Dov Seidman, founder and chief executive of LRN
So where does one start when buying a whole building is not the goal? You look for a building that is already LEED certified. LRN positioned itself to occupy space within a LEED for Existing Building certified property on fifth avenue in New York City. This singular decision earned five points in their LEED for Commercial Interiors application. This is a smart move because when you need to coordinate improvements with building management, they already understand your goals. LRN designated space for indoor bicycle storage and the property manager supported the decision to add two showers for practical bike commuting.
One of the biggest secrets of sustainability is that less is more. It’s a myth that sustainability requires fancy gizmos and expensive materials. LRN’s interior improvements prove that less material yields more health for the occupants. The more layers of gloss and padding you add to interior surfaces, the more opportunity for toxic chemical off-gassing. So the first order of construction on the 8th floor was a massive deconstruction. The elevator lobby was stripped down to the original terrazzo tile-a durable and beautiful expression of marble and granite set in concrete. Where previous tenants had covered the terrazzo with wood or carpet, LRN saw the opportunity to avoid excessive material use and onerous cleaning procedures. Where appropriate throughout the 22,000sf suite, concrete was left exposed as a durable flooring choice. In addition, the ceiling was opened up where appropriate to expose the structural beams and floor slab above. A subtle but powerful metaphor of their mission to promote transparency and trust.
Where cladding material was required for acoustics and aesthetics, the LEED rating system guided material choices for least harm to people and the planet. Acoustical ceiling tiles with high recycled content were added to open office space. Salvaged wood was added to walls and floors for added warmth and tone. Conference rooms are softened with recycled carpet and glass partitions allow daylight and views to be accessible to all occupants. In a big push to create the healthiest environment for its workers, 100% of adhesives, sealants and paints-traditionally the most toxic elements in construction-meet or exceed LEED guidelines for low emissions and low-VOC
It’s not hard to find materials that fit LEED criteria, but it requires you to ask questions about raw materials origin as well as chemical additives in the manufacturing process. LEED v4 even pushes beyond initial purchase and encourages consumers to invest in products that can be returned to the manufacturer for intensive decommissioning and recycling. A true closed loop cycle of consumption.
LRN’s commitment to responsible construction proves that virtue comes in every size. LEED works for the biggest buildings and the humblest office spaces. SIG also loves any size or scope. We’re happy to help at any stage, because every drop counts; every breath should be fresh.
Sustainable Investment Group’s Role on this building:
LEED Certification Level: LEED® Gold
Total Square Feet: 22,679
SIG team members that worked on this project:
- Asa Posner, Senior Sustainability Consultant
Fun facts about this building:
- The space is located in a LEED for Existing Buildings certified building (745 5th Avenue). The building is owned and managed by Paramount Group, another of SIG’s clients.
745 5th Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022