While it might be having CEO growing pains at the moment, in Sunnyvale, California, some sunny news for Yahoo!: the Internet giant’s corporate headquarters has earned LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council under the Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EBOM) standard.
In order to gain this level of certification for this 1 million-square-foot collection of seven office buildings, which is 11 years old, Yahoo! increased the energy efficiency of its campus significantly. So significantly, in fact, that the cash it will save on utilities will effectively repay the entire cost of certification, including internal staff time spent on the project, in about 18 months.
With the help of green consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle, Yahoo! upgraded its basic building systems to enhance energy performance, constructed an outside air cooling system to improve efficiency of its office data center (a key factor in reducing its energy costs), improved indoor water efficiency with low-flow fixtures and solar-powered, ultra-low flow urinals, and used recycled water, coupled with drip irrigation, for landscaping.
The campus also took steps to reduce its light pollution in the evenings by planting adaptive vegetation to match the bordering wetland ecosystem, and using goats (yes) to keep that vegetation under control. It implemented a green cleaning product purchasing policy and a sustainable food for the cafeteria (including herbs from the company garden), while putting into play a “robust alternative commute” program for employees, which includes vanpools, shuttle buses, transit subsidies, and a bike-to-work program.