How an Unusual Company Became Platinum LEED Certified

Biotech company, waterless urinal

Sanofi Genzyme is a very unique company in a very unique building.

This biotech company focuses on finding cures for rare diseases. Most other biotech and pharmaceutical companies do not concentrate on these specific diseases because the time, research, and costs can be considerable. More important, despite those investments, the efforts may never bear fruit. Most firms would prefer to invest in treatments and medications for more prevalent diseases that take less time, money, and resources to develop. Plus, the rewards may materialize faster and be more promising.

A visit to Sanofi Genzyme’s headquarters near Boston, MA, is another indication of just how this company is different from, not only other firms in the biotech industry, but all types of facilities. Their headquarters facility is now Platinum LEED certified, the highest certification possible. They have accomplished this in the following ways:

Site selection. The building sits on what was formerly a Brownfield site. This refers to a location where potentially hazardous materials were once used or stored, or the ground had been in some way contaminated or polluted in the past. Very often, these sites are just left vacant for decades. However, Sanofi Genzyme took several steps to clean the site area and contain or remove any potential contamination that still posed a health hazard. After tests and inspections, the area was deemed safe for use and for building construction.

Materials. As is required for LEED certification, materials used to construct the facility are made from recycled materials and/or are recyclable. Further, they do not negatively impact health or indoor air quality.

Curtain walls. A high-performance curtain wall was installed. This system automatically opens windows for night cooling during the summer months, helping the facility to cool throughout the day. It also helps keep the facility warm during Boston's cold winter months. These walls have significantly reduced energy consumption.

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Water. The facility uses 32 percent less water than a comparable office building in the Boston area. The company accomplished this by taking the following four steps: installing automatic faucets to turn the water on and off, installing low flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets are in all restrooms, and waterless urinals are in all men's bathrooms.

Of those four conservation steps, the installation of the waterless urinals likely produced the most impactful water savings. In fact, when it comes to reducing water consumption, many facilities have managed to earn enough LEED credits - allowing them to become LEED certified - just by installing waterless urinals. Few restroom fixtures waste as much water as water-using urinals and few restroom fixtures can save as much water as waterless urinals.

For more information on Waterless urinals and ways to reduce water consumption, contact a Waterless Co representative.