01:00 AM EDT on Thursday, September 17, 2009
By Peter B. Lord
Journal Environment Writer
A view of the eastern side of the FM Global headquarters in Johnston, which features green technology, including special exterior blinds that regulate sunlight.
The Providence Journal / Bob Thayer
JOHNSTON — Which will get more attention? The three-story glass and cherry-paneled front lobby? Or the forest of young trees that encloses the state’s newest and greenest office building, and somehow dominates every view, even in one of the state’s more scenery-challenged communities.
That question may be answered Thursday afternoon when the state’s business and political leaders gather to dedicate the new world headquarters for FM Global — a $60-million building that is the centerpiece of $154 million in new construction, including an 850-car garage and a heavily fortified data center.
FM Global, one of the world’s largest insurers of business properties, employs 1,700 engineers who work to reduce losses in the buildings of those it insures. Also part of the company’s culture is health and safety. And that culture is reflected throughout the new building that was designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold standard.
It will take time to discern if the gold standard has been met, but Donald G. Oldmixon, first vice president of the company’s real estate division, says the folks at Vision 3 Architects in Providence who designed the building have assured him it will succeed.
“Senior management made a decision from the start to go green,” said Oldmixon. “The whole discussion was about what level.”
Oldmixon said he believes it cost about 8 percent more to incorporate green features in the building. But he also believes those costs will be paid back in just three years.
Energy use should be reduced by 40 percent, Oldmixon said. That alone, he said, justifies the business decision to go green.
Yet a long list of other features will help make the building less expensive to operate, and healthier and more pleasant for employees. You see the results all over.