Vanderbilt Financial Group Goes LEED, Improving Their Environment and Company Culture

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Vanderbilt Financial Group renovates their headquarters in Woodbury NY and anticipates achieving a LEED Silver Certification for the building, which will be the first LEED certified building in Woodbury NY.

These are very exciting times for Vanderbilt Financial Group, as they complete the renovation of their headquarters in Woodbury NY. Once a goal written on paper over a decade ago, it has now become a reality. Early in the planning stage, it was decided that this would be a LEED project (Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design). The company anticipates achieving a LEED Silver Certification for the building, which will be the first LEED certified building in Woodbury NY, and an example of what other businesses in the area can do to be both employer and environmentally responsible.

When considering going LEED, Vanderbilt Financial Group focused on the people, rather than just a new building. Although the costs are higher, the benefits are significantly worth it. From day one of the renovation, the process was different than that of a usual demolition. The carpets were returned to a carpet mill to make recycled carpet, and the debris was separated to recycle metal and properly dispose of hazardous materials.
Some of the requirements of LEED that the company put into place include that the majority people who work in the building have a direct line of sight to the outside, the lighting is "green and efficient", since fluorescent bulbs have toxic levels of mercury inside them, the materials used to renovate the space such as the paint, adhesives, carpeting, are free of volatile compounds, and much more.

The building even has three electric car charging stations available for employees for free, and all of the materials used, including the furniture, came from a 500 mile radius from the building. That means that an inordinate amount of fuel has not been used to get the materials to the site. Not only is that beneficial for the environment, it is beneficial for America!

This construction is just the start, once completed and occupied, this will be a different building from a cultural perspective, as well. In order to maintain a LEED status, employees must follow strict guidelines for recycling in the building and have multiple dumpsters on site to get the recycled materials to facilities where they can be reused and not dumped into landfills. Vanderbilt Financial Group also anticipates reducing onsite paper storage by 95%, compared to their old location. That is achieved through utilization and training of current best practices and technology.

A better work environment, lower energy consumption and reducing landfill is only the first step in going LEED. The building is better for the surrounding community because of the reduction of the carbon footprint compared to a business of similar size in the area. Additionally, it is an example of what starts at work can be adopted at home, it's a culture changer.

There is an old Native American quote that says: "We did not inherit the Earth from our parents...we are borrowing it from our great-grandchildren..." This is how Vanderbilt Financial Group is doing their part.

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Jerian DiMattei
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