Yesterday, the guys at Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ) held a conference call with green bloggers to discuss their green building efforts. As far as I know, Genzyme is one of the first bio-tech firms to really embrace and enter the green building space. Led by Rick Mattila, director of enviornmental affairs, and Lisa Hartman, principal environmental engineer, the group discussed the Genzyme Center (corporate headquarters) based in Cambridge, Mass., which was awarded the LEED-Platinum certification, the highest green rating a building can receive. When asked what was the biggest bang for their buck in building the Genzyme Center, Rick responded...
...that a more productive workforce was definitely one of the benefits. He described that by focusing on the quality of the indoor environment, they actually had the intended benefit of focusing on their people. During the hour long call, it was quite easy to see that Genzyme not only has a committment to the environment but they also have a committment to support their local businesses and community. Genzyme actually rewards their employees for bringing enviromentally-friendly ideas to the table. Opportunities to serve on various committees and boards (that focus on environmental issues) also exist.
When asked if they had in recommendations for those wishing to start their own green building project, Lisa stressed the importance of starting early in the process to take full advantage of planning for every contingency. She explained that if you decide to go green 6 months into the process, there is a good chance that you will leave a green opportunity on the table. It takes proper planning to fully execute a green strategy. For example, if you decide to develop a brownfield site, there may be tax incentives and various credits available, but give yourself plenty of time to navigate the political arena.
In addition to building green here in the U.S., Genzyme has decided to take their efforts to international borders. They are planning a green manufacturing center in Lyons, France, and a research and office space in Beijing, China. Genzyme officials are hopeful that their buildings can serve as a model to others who are also in the process of developing and/or inhabiting a green space of their own.
++Genzyme Headquarters [Flickr Photostream]