Bringing in new light

TD Ameritrade takes LEED Platinum Certification to a higher level

The new 12-story TD Ameritrade Tower compliments the sky scape as you head into Old Mill on interstate 680.  The “ticker-tape” design on the building, an idea on the architect’s part, is homage to what they do and according to Kim Hillyer, director of communications and public affairs, it incorporates a little of their past into the building as well as their future.

TD Ameritrade is putting their carbon footprint down as they strive to obtain their LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Certification, the highest level of LEED certification available. This certification is based on a point system that has phases. To earn LEED Platinum Certification, they need a minimum of 80 points. TD Ameritrade has gone above and beyond “anticipating to show they made those points” said Hillyer, by reaching 88-89 points. Already conquering the first phase (the construction phase) now leaves the final phase (the design phase submission) for after the project is completed.

If or more optimistically “when” they obtain their LEED Certification according to Del Reibold TD Ameritrade construction project manager, they will be the 4th and also the largest LEED Platinum building in the Nebraska and the 8th largest in the United States.

To achieve the certification includes employing a sustainable design and incorporating green space into a clean, open and functional work environment. Doing this won’t only benefit TD Ameritrade and Old Mill; it will also impact the employees’ wellness and bring a new light into the work force. Literally, they are bringing in new light; direct sunlight that is.

Harvesting daylight is one way TD Ameritrade is saving energy. During this process, sunlight will go through an upper and lower level of glass from the outside of the building and then penetrate through a glass wall on the inside. Once that light permeates, employees will enjoy natural soft light.

“It’s very important for our associates to have natural light in their space,” said Reibold, “it’s all about harvesting daylight and giving our associates a natural environment to work in”.

The third level will begin the office floors, each 27,000-square-foot. All associates will have an open work space, corner cubes not included, with lower wall patricians as they face towards the windows and take in the city views throughout the work day. Personal air diffusers will be at each cubicle as well as LED task lights with infrared sensors. The task lights will turn off when an employee leaves their work station and turn back on once they return. In some cases the light will turn off just from the natural sunlight hitting it.

However employees decide to get to work – van, bike or electrical car - TD Ameritrade has the parking space. Five parking stalls will render to electrical cars to park and charge. There will also be bicycle racks for those who ride their bikes to work and spaces for low emitting and alternate fuel vehicles. Overall, the two-story pavilion, the long part of the building, will have enough parking for TD Ameritrade’s capacity – about 1600.

Among the personal elements will be plenty of collaboration space. A large dining facility, also in the pavilion, will hold between 300-350 associates including visitors from other buildings. The main lobby will provide additional seating areas and be one of the main spots for people to join together. The recreation space with full showers and locker facilities will take associate wellness to a higher level giving them room to get energized.

The pedestrian highway, 640 feet in length with seating and quiet work stations along the way, is another feature to accommodate employees. It’s a way to get from point ‘A ‘to point ‘B’ while having the opportunity, as Reibold would put it, to make a decision to turn left and go eat or turn right into the fitness area. After all, “associate wellness is a top priority on their list,” according to Reibold.

A green roof built on top of the pavilion is not only sustainable for the environment in this case. The architects and design engineers also included an area on the roof for occupied space, fitting about 499 people. Whether associates want to bring their lunch up with them or have a meeting, they can appreciate the green space all at the same time.

“Everything was built with the associates’ experiences in mind,” said Hillyer, “we want to attract and obtain top talent at TD Ameritrade; making an environment that makes you feel at home and that you’re making a difference.”

Recycled material goods and rapidly-renewable resource goods are also important elements for LEED Platinum Certification. Denim is one recycled material TD Ameritrade put to good use throughout the facility for sound batt insulation. Rapidly-renewable goods include bamboo millwork and the use of linoleum (linseed oil) on the flooring. They are also collecting and treating rainwater to help flush the toilets for less energy consumption and to aid in transporting waste.

All of the elements they are implementing in the building results in approximately 48 to 49 percent energy savings. TD Ameritrade is not only saving energy now, they are saving energy for the future said Hillyer.

A wind turbine field will be on-site where 24 light poles will be provisioned for future wind generation. Four of those will be used now, producing 4000 watts of energy. If this project works, more will be generated for future use. 

“Putting a little more money in now will save in the future,” said Hillyer, “we will have the capability to expand if it works. We won’t have to change or build new capability in the future.”

TD Ameritrade anticipates having all 1000 employees moved in by late spring 2013.

posted at 07:38 pm
on Thursday, July 12th, 2012

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