Adobe Headquarters: Platinum Coated Certification!

Adobe has been working on remodeling their San Jose headquarters and were just recently awarded Platinum LEED certification. Adobe's retrofits are the result of an upfront investment of $650,000 by the corporation, saving them over $728,000 since implementation. As an example, this shows the 99.99% other developers in this country that sustainable = $$$

So they are platinum? Americans say WOW! The rest of the world, they say, OK, that's it? In fact, the entire LEED certification system is skewed to American standards of sustainability. The US system is built around US views on environmental protection in general, where we are slow to adapt, because it will disrupt our system of success that is in place right now. This is borne through autonomy, through independence, while the Europeans have long gotten the system right, feeling that success is through a communal spirit. This is why we use most the resources of the world and overflowing wealth, but have a fraction of the population.

The LEED system follows the line of logic, where the standards are at a much lower level than those of Europe. Evidence of this can be found in the car market, where American standards for emissions and manufacturing are so much more behind than that of the rest of the world. Why do you think, with recent gas scares and increased environmental awareness of consumers, Toyota has outsold Ford for the first time in history. Here it is about the economic advancements of individuals, which is marked by monetary value. The new US LEED system addresses these notions with the qualifications for American certification. There is a reluctance to set the bar too high for fear that all will fail.

The LEED system is great for us, for its creating some sort of guiding path to be able to think sustainable. It opens doors for opportunities for building to be organic members of society, and with companies like Adobe, there are precedents set, not only for our environment but also for the bottom line. The problem is that we are so far behind than the rest of the world in our environmental standards, that these successes, like Adobe, look good to us but to the rest of the world we have only hit the tip of the iceberg in sustainable building and standards. As the economic and resource-using superpower of the world don't you think we should have our hands deeper in the concern for our community? Nonetheless, good job Adobe.

I feel that the pursuit of certification should be secondary to overall saving of environmental capital. Sustainability for sustainability not for show... there must be a full shift not just a PR campaign.

Listening to Academik Podcast.


Andrew said...

This is good news, but as you said, it's really not enough. For anyone interested in sustainable development and design I would recommend reading The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken - one of my favorite books and a great primer on how we can take examples from nature to better use our natural resources.

One of the major points that he hits on is that in America we never truly see the cost of things because their impact on the environment is rarely included - hence the much lower price of gas in the US as compared with the EU. People will eventually have to realize that in many cases we are taking things from nature that we can't make, and we can't put back.

Overall I think our reluctance to move forward with renewable energy stems from capitalism and the large infrastructure that is already in place for so many industries- until it's broke we're not going to fix it. We saw this with telecom companies where carriers were slow to move to fiber optics because they wanted to leverage their existing infrastructures - so now we're way behind the rest of the world because people were too busy thinking about the present to work towards the future.

Rishi Desai said...

Exactly, the infrastructure needs to be supported because those who benefit from it also control the policy that would change it.

Just like there is a distinct separation from church and state, there should be a distinct separation of the rich and powerful.

While that is impossible, we should have a system in place where the power is distributed. Since money is power in this country, and the consumers feed the capitalists who control the infrastructure, there needs to be a consumer revolution.

Hawken is right, all costs must be included in a cost-benefit analysis. He started on the topic.. and now he continues in Natural Capitalism.

Jessica said...

I think that you should all be happy that we take some initiative. It is the government's responsibility to mandate laws by which we should be required to install these fittings.

If a company does it voluntarily, just be happy they are doing it all, anywhere in the world.

Andrew said...

It's the government's responsibility? Well we live in a democracy which translates into rule by the people - so it is up to us.

I agree that it's not required of companies to look forward or to put people above profits, but if a company truly understood the market and wanted to realize long term profits they would be doing just that.

jessica said...

but thats saying you can predict the market. the beauty of the market is, nobody can predict it. from one perspective it looks like sustainability is the new trend, and required of companies, but from a completely different perspective, and one that seems to matter much more, is that of the investor. And to them its all about returns. Plopping down $1M on something that may or may not come back, but is good for all... well isn't that the company stealing from their duties of maximizing shareholder value?

Andrew said...

As long as a company is investing in R&D in a smart manner I don't think there is any problem. You win some and you lose some, but it doesn't mean you stop innovating. Sustainability is one of the many ways companies are moving forward.

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