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HSBC takes the ‘LEED’ on green initiatives

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HSBC has won a prestige environmental award for its landmark Harbourview Centre.

The Front Street building has hit the gold standard in the US Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) awards.

HSBC Bermuda CEO Richard Moseley said: “This wonderful achievement is a milestone for Bermuda.

“HSBC Harbourview Centre is a sophisticated building with innovations, unique designs and energy ‘save' solutions.

“Staff occupying the building are a fantastic example that we can deliver an exceptionally high quality ‘green' product within a high profile environment.”

The bank worked with architects Cooper Gardner and construction firm BCM McAlpine to reach the standard required by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

And Cooper Gardner partner Julia van Beelen said she hoped the building's success would cause “a ripple effect” in Bermuda, with more companies seeing the value of going green.

HSBC originally planned to go for a silver award in the environmentally-friendly design programme — but were only two points off gold when the submission was put together, so the bank decided to go the extra mile.

Each floor of the building — which opened three years ago — features a central “village” with recycling facilities, a central printing area and kitchen.

Working areas have no trash cans — meaning workers have to leave their desks to print, which discourages the use of printers, and deposit their trash.

The company said that the removal of trash cans meant they needed 300 fewer trash bags at the end of the working day.

To qualify for the award, the building had to be energy efficient and constructed with the least impact on the environment.

Lights dim when the sun is bright, reducing energy consumption and sustainable materials and construction methods had to be used.

In addition, indoor air quality has to meet the highest standards, improving the working environment for staff and customers, while other green practices, like a charging point for electric vehicles, encouraging car pooling and the use of bicycles for commuting, also had to be introduced.

The bike racks, as well as showers, have been installed at the bank's Albuoys Point building, within a distance rule for the award.

Mr Moseley said: “A lot of it is mindset — these things require effort up front, but after a while it becomes part of life.”

And he added that central points on each floor meant “exercise and it encourages people to talk and communicate with each other.”

He said: “The fact printers are in the middle station discourages people from using printers.

“These are little things and the little things add up — the feedback from staff has been great.”

Ms Van Beelen said many of the criteria for the award were “challenging for a small community like Bermuda and that the top platinum designation was unachievable because of a US-tailored distance rule for how far the materials used travelled from source to project.

She added: “The bank truly showed vision in this process — it requires collaboration. Everybody has to work as a team.

“We have to look at the site, the sustainability of the site and how we deal with the site in the construction process.”

And Ms Van Beelen said: “Everybody has to change a little bit the way they work, but these changes are positive for the community.”

BCM McAlpine CEO Mike Ewles said a bid for LEED accreditation had been a first for the firm — and the lessons learned would be applied to other contracts.

And he added that LEED methods provided a better working environment for construction workers.

Mr Ewles said: “Even if you're not going to follow a LEED approach, you have to look at what LEED stands for because it really is the way forward.”

“It's a better environment for workers — less dust, more environmentally friendly materials, glues without toxins. It really benefits everybody, not just the end user.”

Green achievement: Pictured from right, HSBC Bermuda CEO Richard Moseley, BCM McAlpine CEO Mike Ewles and Cooper Gardner partner Julia van Beelen admire the plaque that signifies HSBC Bermuda's gold certification for its Harbourview building
HSBC Bermuda CEO Richard Moseley shakes hand with Cooper Gardner partner Julia van Beelen

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Published November 20, 2013 at 10:52 am (Updated November 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm)

HSBC takes the ‘LEED’ on green initiatives

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