May 31st 2012 11:19AM

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Dave Mason (below holding the LEED plaque) and the StudioNow team in Nashville celebrated AOL's fourth LEED office space with awesome green cupcakes, upon receipt of their LEED plaque on Wednesday, 30 May 2012. Brenda Rian, AOL's sustainability manager, and John Tuthill, AOL's Eastern region facilities manager, were on hand for the celebration.

LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is run by the U.S. Green Building Council and is an external certification for the design and construction of an office. The required submittals are extensive, which is why the building has been occupied for over a year prior to receipt of this certification!

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Brenda reviewed the elements of AOL's sustainability program (energy efficiency, green IT, employee programs such as telework programs, and operations such as recycling programs, green landscaping, green cleaning, and, of course, green buildings). John then noted a few of items that made this office particularly 'green,' according to LEED elements:

  • Sustainable sites: This site is close to alternative transportation
  • Energy efficiency: There are occupancy sensors that turn off lights when areas are unoccupied. The lighting is all selected for efficiency – either fluorescent or LED lights are used. And 99% of all the electrical equipment – copiers, computers, refrigerator – are Energy Star certified. (We have ONE printer that's not Energy Star rated!) This efficiency is not only green, but keeps our utility bills lower.
  • Conservation of materials: There are also very sustainable elements in our construction materials – cork and marmoleum flooring, carpet with more than 40% recycled content, and low-solvent paints.
indoor environmental quality 
The is also one of the more noticed elements – the design maximizes daylight inside the building and the windows actually open, for a bit more control over your environment. The air conditioning unit on the roof has a very high efficiency filter installed to provide good air quality.

While many of the sustainable elements of the office space are laudable, the more significant green achievements result from StudioNow's business model itself. The old way of production involved commuting production crews from their place to residence to wherever the shoot location occurred, incurring all kinds of traveling expenses and a large carbon footprint. StudioNow's entire approach is fundamental a local initiative. Keep costs down by hiring local talent, whenever possible. The implications of this strategy are essential as global efforts to reduce the overall carbon emissions build momentum. It would be difficult to estimate the amount of efficiencies and savings that such a model allows, but a driving part of our mission aligns perfectly in step with these efforts.

Because of StudioNow's online platform and IT infrastructure, a significant portion of the Productions team work from home once a week, potentially saving 50 or more gallons of petroleum a month. The number of staff who walk or cycle to work everyday has increased 150% just this summer. And that, we believe, is just the beginning.

AuthorDaniel Collins