Green architecture – Avon Headquarters in New York City
Avon Products, Inc. has formally opened the latest of the company’s facilities which are the new “green” U.S. headquarters. Located at 777 Third Avenue in New York City, it was designed and constructed to meet the LEED Gold certification as a part of Avon’s Green Building Promise which has a goal to minimize the impact of the buildings owned by Avon.
Designed by HOK, a global provider of planning, design and delivery solutions for the built environment and a leader in sustainable design, the 25,550 square-meter (275,000 square-foot) quarters are a retrofit of a 38-story, early ’60s modernist tower. HOK collaborated with Avon’s internal design committee to help select a light color palate for a somewhat feminine, timeless feel to the interior, while keeping the green features and technology systems behind the scenes.
In addition to the environmental sustainability of the U.S. headquarters, Avon also used the site as an opportunity to drive the company’s core commitment to empower women. Working with Non-Traditional Employment for Women (NEW), Avon committed to 15% women on the construction crew of their new U.S. headquarters – a goal more than twice the federal standard of 6.9% and a level that had never been achieved on a private sector project. The goal was surpassed with a 17% female crew for the life of the project, creating employment opportunities for women across the construction trades.
Avon committed to buy electricity for their headquarters produced from 100 percent renewable sources. In order to save power, the headquarters are equipped with efficiency lighting, which cut energy use by 22 percent compared to a conventional system. Private offices and meeting rooms are equipped with motion sensors which turn off the lights when rooms aren’t in use. Energy Star appliance placement throughout the offices reducing energy use by 78% as well.
Nearly 96 percent of working positions have a view to the outside, and the maximization of daylight use is ensured by work-station dividers which are low in height, permitting light to penetrate deep into the floor plate. Installed high efficiency water fixtures are 35% more efficient compared to standard fixtures. Energy Star dishwashers used for silverware and mugs also lower the water consumption.
Most of the materials were manufactured and sourced locally. Builders used low-VOC paints and sealants, CRI carpeting, and tough sheet rock to prevent molding. New York-area manufacturers produced the offices’ wood flooring, glass-paned office fronts, and ceiling panels. Over 91 percent of the wood used throughout the project is certified as sustainably harvested by the Forest Stewardship Council. During construction, 84 percent of waste was recycled, thus minimizing landfill demand.
Avon negotiated with the building owner to include bike racks and showers in the basement to spur bicycle commuters. The building is also just a few blocks north of the Grand Central Station rail and subway nexus.