Vikas is a staff writer for the Sustainable Development news and editorial section on Justmeans. He is an MBA with 20 years of managerial and entrepreneurial experience and global travel. He is the author of "The Power of Money" (Scholars, 2003), a book that presents a revolutionary monetary economic theory on poverty alleviation in the developing world. Vikas is also the official writer...
Amazon.com HQ Goes Green
The new headquarters for Amazon.com in South Lake Union in Seattle marks a new era of creating sustainable work environments in the region. Vulcan Real Estate, the company that is building the project completed the fourth phase of the 1.7 million square feet headquarters for Amazon.com. Nine out of ten buildings that are a part of the complex are now ready. The fourth phase of the project includes two 12-storey, 160-feet high buildings which are the tallest structures of the complex.
Three years ago Seattle had given a special approval to Vulcan Real Estate and Amazon.com to build three 12-storey structures. In return for this approval, Vulcan was required to invest $6 million towards building affordable, low-income homes, sustainable buildings and green landscaping. The plan also includes persuading 60 percent of the new employees to use mass or shared transport or bicycles to get to work. The project has seen fruition due to the visionary approach of the city officials and the company to create a public-private partnership with the City of Seattle and South Lake Union community.
Phase Two and Three of the new Amazon headquarters have already earned the prestigious LEED Gold certification. Phase Four buildings are also expected to achieve the same status from LEED. A historic landmark building at the Terry Avenue which is a part of the complex will feature a green roof. This is the first ever such innovation for a historic building in Seattle. It is also expected that South Lake Union will be certified as a green neighborhood as part of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Neighborhood Development national certification program. This is in recognition of South Lake Union's overall emphasis to walkable and bikable streets, mixed use zoning, and other sustainable lifestyle features.
South Lake Union is aiming to become a model area for sustainable development in the entire region. The aggregate impact of green construction, low cost housing, environment friendly transportation, and preservation of heritage buildings and public art, which are a part of the Amazon.com HQ project, is environmentally significant in the long term. It also represents an ideal way for a community to grow and develop using sustainable and planet-friendly means.
Photo Credit: ghost