What We’ve Accomplished & Where We Want to Go
Some time has passed since we last updated you on our Operation Eco journey, so now that we’ve moved to our new Conshohocken office location, we wanted to tell you what we’ve been up to and where we’re going.
Our Conshohocken Move
As you may know, Strata has two locations – one in Plymouth Meeting and one in Conshohocken. Our Plymouth Meeting facility primarily houses our production team and equipment, along with several other production-affiliated employees. Our Conshohocken location, on the other hand, is home to many other Strata team members – from IT and advertising to marketing and campaign coordination. We’re excited to announce that our Conshohocken team has moved, and will now be working out of 1100 East Hector Street (also known as the Spring Mill Campus).
We’re very excited about this new (refurbished) space, as it was chosen due to its excellent atmosphere, room for the company to evolve and expand, natural lighting, clean, modern, and industrial feel, as well as its flexibility and sense of community. We knew we could renovate and add to the space without overusing new resources and materials or conducting a complete redo – which was a primary goal for us. Additionally, it’s right down the road from our original Conshohocken office location and is yet another “small change” for employees with big current and potential impact.
Our Conshohocken Office Eco Choices
To innovate and refresh this new (yet used) space with minimum impact on our environment, we worked with Re:Vision Architecture, a company well-known for “re-visioning and restoring the balance between natural, built, and social environments.” We knew they could help us evolve this office space with environmental care and green consciousness to the best of our ability.
Although as a tenant, we didn’t have control over everything, we were able to use a lot of existing materials and remodel in an environmentally conscientious manner. Here are some of the details…
First and foremost – the building we chose (Spring Mill Campus) was a tire factory from 1912 to 1980 – so it has a ton of history and feels that way. It’s an older building with modernized refurbishing and a unified, community feel across offices and companies. So, all necessary structures and infrastructure were already in place. Reusing versus starting from scratch is the single biggest eco-benefit, as is the case whenever you find a way to reuse.
We were extremely happy with how close it is to public transportation (just a short walk to the train station, for example), as well as many food and coffee places. The building even has food options, like vending machines of various types, right within its walls.
The building’s HVAC system is a geothermal system, which, if you’re unfamiliar, is one of the most efficient HVAC systems out there.
Energy & Air Quality
The space is outfitted with an energy recovery ventilator, which constantly exchanges indoor air with outdoor air, recovering 90% of heat energy. This basically means that while saving energy, we have a lot more outdoor air in our space than in most standard offices.
The office space, in general, has an incredible amount of natural light and exposure to the outdoors, as it’s surrounded by large, tall windows. This ample sunlight reduces our need for lighting fixtures and will help heat the office in the winter. We’ve also installed south-facing shades to reduce glare and summer heat, and ultimately lower our need for air conditioning. These shades are vinyl-free from Mermet’s eco line, with partially natural fabric and highly recycled content. For us, it was imperative that we found non-vinyl shades since vinyl is toxic, can’t be recycled, and offs gases throughout its lifetime. Additionally, according to the DOE, if we manage the usage of these shades, we can reduce heat gain by 77%.
Furthermore, all lighting fixtures are energy efficient LED and occupancy censored. This means that their sensors will detect the presence of people and turn them on and off as needed. Even better? The finial lights in the main cubicle area have daylight sensors – so they dim as the sun goes down.
We chose a drywall product that has a higher level of recycled content than typical drywall. Additionally, the sound insulation within these walls is mineral wool insulation, which is made of 95% recycled content.
Most notably, we made use of the existing polished concrete subfloor in the lobby, lunch area, and back of house, instead of applying another flooring over top – which would have left a larger carbon footprint. The chosen carpet tiles for the rest of the office are by Interface, and are known for their “cradle to cradle” material. This material is highly recycled, and when it’s at the end of its life in our office space, the company will take the tiles back, recycle them, and turn them into new carpeting. Additionally, the tile format stops us from having to replace the entire floor after just a few spills. If needed, we can simply just replace a few tiles.
The glass doors into the various rooms are of reused glass. Not only are they recycled, but they help to further promote the abundance of natural lighting and a connection to each other as well as the outdoors.
We chose to use acoustic ceiling tiles by Armstrong, which feature high amounts of recycled content and environmentally friendly, plant-based binders.
Paints & Coatings
All of the paints and coatings used as finishes within our space are low-VOC. The products are primarily of maple wood and have clear finishes – natural materials that do not emit gases over time.
Appliances & Supplies
All kitchen appliances are energy-star rated appliances, and the sink and dishwasher within the kitchen are low-flow appliances – which means they have around a 1-gallon-per-minute restriction. We also installed the dishwasher to help promote the use of plates and silverware as opposed to paper products and plastic utensils with single-use applications.
Living Our Mission
Lastly, we’re not just placing eco-friendly elements within our space and renovating conscientiously, but living in an eco-friendly manner, as well. We’re promoting the use of plant-based or phosphate-free dish detergents to help reduce the number of phosphates that end up in the environment, especially in our lakes and streams. We’re using silverware, plates, mugs, and other dishware instead of one-time use plastics. We’re also promoting other reuses with the eco-swag we’ve distributed. This swag includes things like beeswax wrap, reusable snack and produce bags, grocery tote bags, and more.
The Plymouth Meeting Office Beginning Changes
We’re excited for the more in-depth Plymouth Meeting renovations to come and appreciate you for keeping up with our eco-efforts. Since we own the Plymouth Meeting space, there are more possibilities for change and impact. We’ll provide exciting updates about this in the near future – but until then, follow us on social media (Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn) to keep up with our eco initiative and look out for future blogs.