Cashman Turns Green to Gold - Best Practices
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Cashman Turns Green to Gold

By Joanne Costin

Article Date: 12-01-2009
Copyright(C) 2009 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

CAT dealer receives LEED-Gold certification for new corporate headquarters.

If you stepped into the dealership of the future, it might look something like this: The smartly designed corporate headquarters of Henderson, Nev.-based Cashman Equipment. It is the first construction equipment dealership to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and the largest LEED industrial complex in Nevada. With its construction, Cashman Equipment has set a new standard for environmental leadership among dealers. In fact, Caterpillar corporate has rewritten their development guidelines for new facilities based on the Cashman Equipment example.

The LEED certification system provides third-party verification that a building was designed and built to improve performance in energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. LEED points are awarded on a 69-point scale and bonus credits are available, four of which address regionally specific environmental issues.

What Does It Mean to Be Gold Certified?
There are four levels of green design achievement: Certified, silver, gold and platinum, with platinum being awarded to the most sustainable projects. The Gold level is obtained for design points ranging 39-51, and the Cashman project was awarded 45 points, placing it in the top of the range for LEED Gold. The company considered other design options such as solar panels to achieve a platinum level but opted against them due to cost constraints. Looking to the future, the roof has been prepared to accept solar panels if at some point that becomes viable.

Truth be told, Cashman Equipment only began thinking about a new building headquarters when an eminent domain issue effectively took 25 percent of the company’s previous location in Las Vegas. But credit CEO MaryKaye Cashman for taking the opportunity to present a new vision of how a dealership should look and operate. "It was intuitive on my part that this was the right way to go,” said Cashman. "But the building of it taught us that it was true."

For architect Curt Carlson, vice president, director of design at SH Architecture, what stands out most about the process was the way the company embraced the whole project. "The client’s willingness to be as sustainable as possible was key," said Carlson. Cashman Equipment and SH Architecture collaborated to create a headquarters that optimizes natural daylight, while preventing solar heat gain. The project utilizes an energy-efficient geothermal heating and cooling system and computerized shades to provide sun control, maximize light and minimize glare. The Cashman complex respects the scarcity of water in the region and conserves it through xeriscape landscaping, low flow plumbing fixtures and wash bays with self-contained water reclamation and equipment filtration systems.

Use of Recycled and Local Materials
Throughout the buildings, a high percentage of local and recycled materials were used. More than 75 percent of the structural steel is recycled. Floors made of terrazzo tile are comprised of 50 percent recycled glass, while carpeted areas contain 11 percent recycled materials. Paved areas are comprised of 35 percent recycled asphalt. Concrete contains 15 percent fly ash. During construction, recycling efforts kept 814 tons of construction debris from entering landfills. Forty percent of the materials used in the job were sourced locally – twice the level required for LEED. All woodwork is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.

Energy Savings
Energy saving is one of the key goals of a sustainable building and the dealer expects a 35 to 40 percent reduction in energy usage (including lighting, heating and water).

"We looked at it as a whole and evaluated to come up with the best end, most financially relevant solution, balancing initial installation costs and lifecycle costs during operation," said Cashman.

According to Cashman, the geothermal heating and cooling system was one of the most challenging aspects of the project. "Geothermal is not a commonplace element and not all locations are suitable for it," she explained. The system required 65 miles of underground pipe from 359 wells that are 400 feet deep, feeding into loops in the automated central plant. "We did poured-in-place tilt-up concrete slabs, and that was like seeing a giant puzzle piece laid out. So to lay all that out and pour it and have it all be perfect was quite an accomplishment."

Interior spaces were designed to take advantage of the natural light shining through more than 3,500 high performance glass panels. Solatubes and retractable glass doors were used in the shop areas. Every building is equipped with occupancy and light sensors.

Health Benefits
Employee health and welfare was at the top of the priority list for the building. "They wanted it to be a welcoming workplace for employees," said architect Carlson, "and they carried it through from the shop to the office." CO2 sensors monitor air quality throughout the buildings and adjust fresh air flow to maintain a healthy environment.

"We have no new building gases," said Cashman. Products with low volatile organic compound (VOC) levels were used throughout. Fabric ducts evenly disperse and distribute the air. Green cleaning products without toxic compounds also reduce employee exposures to toxic chemicals. Studies have even shown productivity improvements within green buildings, as measured by fewer sick days and employee surveys. "Anyone who walks in feels that this is different, this is better," Cashman added. "We want to lead by example and have been given the opportunity to do that."

How Much More Does It Cost to Build Sustainable?
Initial projections called for costs to exceed the costs of a traditional building by 10 percent. However, as the company broke ground on the project, construction slowed, and costs ended up just five percent higher. Sustainable buildings cost more due to the need to monitor the construction process. The company calculates the payback at five to seven years, depending on utility costs and additional rebates from taxes.

The Cashman complex has made many take notice. Southwest Contractor magazine recently named it the Green Building winner in its Best of 2009 awards. In addition, the Las Vegas Business Press presented MaryKaye Cashman with the 2009 Green Owner of the Year award, commending her strong commitment to sustainability.

"Everyone marvels at the building," said Cashman. "It is impressive from the street. But when they get inside, it is so much more than an attractive exterior façade. They understand the thought and the details that went into making it such an environmentally pleasing place for the people who work here and the customers who come here."

For many dealers, new buildings aren’t on the table, but that doesn’t mean efforts to green your operations should be tabled. "There are so many things that you can do that aren’t extensive, and you don’t think of them readily," said Cashman. "But when you make it your focus it creates numerous opportunities."

It’s clear that sustainability is the future. And thanks to Cashman Equipment, you now know what it looks like.   
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