Project Management Institute

Turning green into gold

BY TEGAN JONES

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ALL FIGURES QUOTED ARE IN U.S. DOLLARS UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF ADRIAN WILSON AT HOK

$136 million

The cost of the HSBC Tower project

SOURCE: HSBC Holdings plc

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Sometimes going green means going back to the drawing board.

When U.K. financial giant HSBC purchased the Torre Angel building on Mexico City, Mexico's prestigious Paseo de la Reforma in 2003, it knew it had a prime location. But the company also wanted its Mexican headquarters to raise the regional bar for sustainability. There was just one problem. Construction had already started—without any consideration of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards.

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HURRY UP AND WAIT

The 400,000-square-foot (37,161-square-meter), 24-floor HSBC Tower premiered as HSBC's Mexican headquarters in April 2006. But it was another 18 months before the tower could be proclaimed the first Latin American building to earn LEED gold status.

PAYING THE PRICE

HSBC hired the Mexico City office of U.S architecture firm HOK to help it retrofit the components that had already been built and rework the design plan to incorporate green building practices.

That meant making changes to the specifications of some of the heating, ventilation and cooling equipment and finding space for a water-treatment plant within the property. The team also had to reinforce the parking garage so it would support what HSBC touts as Latin America's largest green roof.

All those project modifications increased the building's cost by 12 percent to 15 percent—6 percent to 7 percent more than it would have cost the team to start from scratch on an empty lot.

GREENING THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Although awareness and education of sustainable building practices is growing in Mexico, real-world application is lagging. Not only do organizations face a lack of government incentives, such as tax breaks or emissions credits, there isn't much of a green infrastructure.

Most project managers in the region have to deal with conventional supply chains where many vendors and consultants remain either ignorant of LEED standards or unable to secure compliant products, says Mexico City-based Javier Presas, project manager, HOK.

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KEEPING TABS

Because no one on the HOK design team had ever worked on a LEED certification project, HSBC knew it needed an expert on the job. So the company hired César Ulises Treviño, general director of Garza Garcia, Nuevo León, Mexico-based Bioconstrucción y Energia Alternativa, founder and current president of the Mexico Green Building Council, as LEED coordinator. Working with the team, he monitored the project to ensure work was being done up to LEED standards and kept track of credits earned. Mr. Treviño, who also serves as secretary of the World Green Building Council, really drove the team and made sure every detail was covered, Mr. Presas says.

INSIDE OUT

To take maximum advantage of natural lighting, HOK designed an open office plan that makes daylight accessible to as many occupants as possible. The windows, which stretch from floor to ceiling in many parts of the building, are specially designed to reduce heat transfer and keep the building cool.

The firm also installed an intelligent lighting system that regulates the amount of florescent light used in workspaces according to the amount of sunlight coming into the building, Mr. Presas says.

That's something that requires constant attention as far as maintenance and operations from HSBC,” he says.

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We hope this project serves as an example for GREENING THE COMMUNITY and encouraging the Mexican government to offer more incentives for creating environmentally friendly buildings.

–Javier Presas, HOK, Mexico City, Mexico

50

The number of global LEED gold-certified buildings HSBC says it hopes to own by 2011

SOURCE: HSBC Holdings plc

4

The number of HSBC buildings with LEED gold certifications as of May 2008

SOURCE: HSBC Holdings plc

MAKING THE GRADE

Several sustainable features helped the HSBC project meet LEED gold standards:

■ A 4,000-square-foot (371-square-meter) green roof reduces stormwater runoff, filters pollutants and carbon dioxide from the air, and reduces the urban warming effect caused in part by extensive asphalt surfacing.

■ Efficient fixtures, such as waterless urinals and low-flow lavatories, decrease water usage by 75 percent.

■ A water-treatment system collects rain and wastewater that is then treated at an on-site plant and reused in bathrooms.

■ The building is located near bus stops and transit stations to encourage employee use of public transportation.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

PM NETWORK JULY 2008 WWW.PMI.ORG

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