Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.’s Global Innovation Center (GIC) in Chicago has received LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), marking a significant achievement in the company’s commitment to global sustainability.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is a third party accreditation system and nationally accepted benchmark for green buildings. Certification signifies that a building has met specific environmentally sound criteria, such as constructing on sustainable sites, improving water efficiency, using renewable materials and resources and employing innovation and design.
A LEED-certified building has environmental, economic and health benefits. Certification acknowledges they are energy-efficient, designed to m inimize strain on local infrastructure and reduce overall operating costs, among other benefits.
“Improving our environmental profile within Chicago and around the world is the right thing to do for our business, our associates and our communities,” said Dushan Petrovich, president of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. “We are proud of the work we’ve done to earn LEED Gold certification for our Global Innovation Center. As a company with a commitment to Chicago, we are excited to contribute to the city’s vision to make our community more environmentally sustainable.”
Throughout the company, Wrigley has consistently taken steps to reduce energy, greenhouse gases, water and waste. When the GIC opened in the Goose Island area of north Chicago in 2005, it already met many of the LEED requirements. Specifically, the GIC featured:
- An open, healthy work environment, with a Winter Garden that features 25 different plant species from four continents.
- Natural light floods the interior spaces under a glass tension-cabled ceiling that is the only one of its kind in North America, thereby reducing the need for additional interior lighting fixtures.
- A massive recycling program in which building waste is recycled and reused.
- A “green roof” that helps control heating and air-conditioning costs and is home to plants that absorb and use rainwater, reducing storm water runoff into the sewer system.
- Flexible office space and laboratories designed with collaboration in mind allowing areas to be reconfigured with little or no additional construction.
- A program that encourages employees to take alternative and public transportation, including showers and locker rooms for bike riders.
Working closely with its building manager, Transwestern, the GIC recently introduced several initiatives critical to the goals of a LEED-certified building. The building employs “green cleaning,” which includes all-natural cleaning products without harsh chemicals; additional lighting occupancy sensors, automated temperature sensors that improve energy efficiency and control costs; and an irrigation system that uses sensors to keep the grounds watered without wasting resources, among other improvements.
GIC Associates were critical to obtaining Gold certification from the start, providing input on potential new initiatives through surveys and making proactive suggestions about incremental ways to make the GIC more efficient and sustainable, such as identifying lab and storage areas for temperature set backs during evenings and weekends and opportunities for low-flow water fixtures in laboratories.
Through the range of environmentally-sound practices at the GIC, the company has already seen significant results. Specifically, the GIC has reduced its water usage by 40% annually during the last two years and reduced its energy use by 10% during the past year.
“Wrigley’s LEED Gold certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Wrigley demonstrates a genuine commitment to sustainability of the local communities where it operates.”
“Obtaining LEED Gold certification of the Global Innovation Center is just one example of Wrigley’s global commitment to sustainability,” said Julia Tuthill Mulligan, managing director of global sustainability. “We have a strong foundation of operating as an environmentally responsible company already. And we will continue to weave sound environmental, social and economic practices into our business practices, so we are doing what’s right for the world we live in now, and for future generations.”