Like most offices in Silicon Valley, these days 23andMe’s headquarters is largely vacant as employees have adjusted to working from home during the pandemic. But that hasn’t stopped us all from admiring the innovative design that went into the construction of the 145,500-square-foot building and how it is now being managed.
It’s comforting to know we’re not the only ones who noticed, and this week we learned that the U.S. Green Building Council recognized 23andMe for designing and managing its offices with energy efficiency, waste reduction, and sustainability in mind.
The council awarded 23andMe with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum designation for its Sunnyvale office building. The designation is based on a green building rating. Through design, construction, and operations practices that improve environmental and human health, LEED-certified buildings are helping to make the world more sustainable.
“We strive to ensure our work environments are designed and operated to achieve high performance, improve human health and protect the environment,” said Jason Lester, 23andMe’s Director of Workplace Experience. “Obtaining LEED Platinum certification for our Sunnyvale location demonstrates our commitment to doing so.”
LEED is a globally recognized green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Achieving LEED certification helps:
- Save money in energy, water, maintenance, and waste
- Improve health with cleaner air, access to daylight, and reduced pollution
- Reduce energy and carbon emissions with water conservation, reduced waste, use green materials, and sustainable strategies
Buildings like 23andMe’s Sunnyvale office earn points across several categories for various green building strategies in order to achieve LEED Certification. There are four possible LEED rating levels that can be achieved:
23andMe achieved LEED Platinum Certification by implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions in areas including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
23andMe has also gone above and beyond the majority of LEED Certified buildings by ensuring that paints and coatings, flooring, insulation, and other composite wood materials in the Sunnyvale building were installed to meet stringent emission testing standards.
Though COVID-19 guidelines are currently preventing the majority of Sunnyvale employees from returning to the office, members of our Workplace team have remained in the offices developing the most optimal environment for employees to eventually return to. This includes benefits like:
- Over 20 percent energy savings including the use of onsite renewable energy generation
- Over 40 percent reduction of indoor water use
- Higher indoor air quality due to enhanced ventilation and low-emitting material selection.
In the coming months, the work to maintain these standards will continue in preparation for a time when employees will be able to come back to work safely.