A group of UUA staff went over to Genzyme in Kendall Square to see what a really green office building looks like.  We also wanted to imagine what our headquarters might incorporate sustainability-wise and this was a chance to open our minds to different possibilities.

Genzyme is a LEED platinum certified office building.  You can go to their website to see other recognitions it has received, and more information.

So many details of the building planning were interesting and innovative.  Fountains with running water in the atrium deadened the sound, making acoustics of other people’s conversations not much of a problem for people working close by; it was very quiet and peaceful.  The lighting system involved a complex series of roof mirrors and ceiling mirrors and prism chandeliers to give off the right amount of diffuse light, moving light when possible to give a calming effect. They were controlled by an automatic weather system to adjust to different lighting levels depending on the day (sunny or cloudy- angles of mirrors would adjust differently).  Through this system they achieved an 80% natural light to 20% artificial light ratio in their work spaces.  The average work space is the reverse.

We came equipped with questions and had some things we would have wanted to do differently- but it was a great learning experience.  I’ll ask the other tour attendees to add comments to this post with things that stood out to them and what they learned.  I’ll ask anyone else to comment what they would like to see the UUA incorporate further into our building, whether we stay here or find another space to work in- what green aspects would you strive for us to operate with?

If anyone missed the tour but will be in the area and wants to check it out there is some information available in Genzyme’s lobby and you can get an idea of the space:

Individual Viewing of Genzyme Center: Individual visitors and the general public may view Genzyme Center from the public space on the first and second floors Monday through Friday, 7am-7pm. You do not need to register to view the building during these times.

Interactive Kiosks & Brochures: There are two touch-screen interactive kiosks in the public viewing space. These kiosks host a virtual tour that highlights the different architectural and environmental features of the building. In addition, brochures about the building are located on a display stand in the lobby and at the reception desk.

About the Author
Melissa Saggerer

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