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Sustainable by Design: The NICC

The Noblis Innovation and Collaboration Center (NICC), owned and operated by Noblis, incorporated significant sustainable features and products into its design as described below. 

Energy-Efficient Lighting

The NICC was designed to optimize the use of natural daylight.  Designers maximized the size of the exterior window wall to allow in as much daylight as possible, limited the use of partitions, and installed glass partitions where partitions were necessary to increase the daylight factor and views outside of the building.  By optimizing natural lighting, it afforded Noblis the opportunity to purchase minimum wattage lighting products.  All lighting products are ENERGY STAR-rated.

In addition to minimum wattage lighting products, the NICC features five motion sensors throughout the facility to ensure the most efficient use of electrical lighting.  The addition of motion sensors greatly reduces the use of unnecessary lighting in common areas, and not only produces a considerable return on investment, but also assists Noblis in meeting its goals to reduce power consumption and GHG emissions.

Data Center Consolidation and Efficiency

The NICC consolidated 20 individual labs into a single workspace, enabling Noblis to take advantage of significant energy and cost efficiencies associated with server virtualization and green computing upgrades.  The data center is a critical component of the NICC and Noblis business life.  The data center’s Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) operations were enhanced through the deployment of a product that will reduce the volume of air that cools the equipment in the data center. This reduction in air volume will allow the HVAC units to more efficiently cool the data center equipment while also prolonging the life of the equipment. In addition, the efficiency allows Noblis to scale back the run time of the HVAC units that serve the data center.  All of these energy efficiency efforts have led to an annual reduction in energy consumption of over 6 million kilowatt hours, the equivalent of the carbon emissions associated with the electricity use of 516 homes for one year. 

Sustainable Materials and Products

Sustainable materials were purchased, installed, and today are used throughout the NICC.

  • Counter Tops
    The counter tops installed in the NICC contain a minimum of 91% post-industrial recycled material.  The recycled surface material, made by Alkemi, is certified by Scientific Certification Systems, a leading organization in the evaluation and certification of sustainable materials.
  • Carpets
    The carpeting in the NICC is cradle to cradle certified and contains a minimum of 25% recycled content, utilizing an average of 23 million pounds of recycled content annually and requiring 18% less energy to make.
  • Electronics
    Noblis procured ENERGY STAR-rated lighting and electronics for use within the NICC.  This includes, but is not limited to: lighting products , flat panel televisions, and SMART Board interactive white board solutions.
  • Wall Coverings
    The natural wood veneer wall covering that was chosen is 100% formaldehyde-free and compliant with local volatile organic compound (VOC) requirements. The fabric wall coverings are free of chlorine, plasticizers, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
  • Furniture
    The KNOLL Generation seating in the NICC is: rated Sustainable Platinum under the SMaRT© Consensus Sustainable Product Standards; GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality and Children and Schools certified; composed of a minimum of 40% recycled content; and manufactured using clean technologies in the Knoll LEED® Gold and ISO 14001 Certified Lubin Building, where energy use is offset with electricity generated by wind power.

    The Hickory Business Furniture Laptop Tables used in the NICC were made with a powder coat paint formulated from recycled plastics. The paint is electrostatically applied, creating little or no waste. Any waste that is captured can be recycled and reapplied.
  • Flooring
    The Armstrong flooring in the data center is BioBased Tile (BBT) certified. The BBT Certification ensures that the floor tiles contain 10% pre-consumer content in the form of recycled limestone. This recycled content is independently certified in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines for pre-consumer recycled content.

[1] Sylvania lighting products were installed in the NICC.  Sylvania received the 2011 ENERGY STAR® Sustained Excellence Award, its tenth such award, in recognition of its continued leadership in protecting the environment through energy efficiency.

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