Autodesk uses own software portfolio to design green work space

22 October 2012

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Autodesk, Inc. has deepened its investment in sustainable operations in the UK by opening a new green office space this year at Farnborough in Hampshire. The company is targeting LEED certification for the new facility along with three others in San Francisco, Milan and Beijing, which would bring Autodesk’s total to 13 LEED-certified offices, covering 25 per cent of its 1.8 million square foot real estate portfolio.

An environmentally focused design at the new 21,000 square foot Farnborough office is helping Autodesk save $1 million in overall costs every two years. In addition, the completed office achieved a 21 per cent reduction in lighting power and a 27 per cent reduction in water usage from the previous space. The new office has also achieved significant green design goals, despite the challenge of pursuing dual accreditation. The office is on track for both LEED Gold Commercial Interiors and SKA Silver certification.

Joe Chen, vice president of corporate real estate and facilities at Autodesk, says: “At Autodesk, we are focused on accelerating sustainable innovation, and one way we do this to use our own facilities and operations as a testing ground for new ideas, workflows and solutions. By using our own software to design and build these spaces, we’re not only reducing our greenhouse gas footprint, but also providing real working examples of sustainable design for our customers.”

The project’s design partner, Morgan Lovell, used Autodesk 3ds Max Design visualisation software to create photorealistic renderings that helped educate employees about the new space. This encouraged use of the new space’s mobile working, desk sharing features, as well as telecommuting. By reducing the office’s footprint through adoption of these modern working practices, Morgan Lovell saved about 8000 square feet for Autodesk and achieved a corresponding decrease in energy usage.

By factoring in the new lease and depreciation costs, Autodesk was able to reduce the overall cost of its Farnborough office by half a million dollars a year. It also significantly reduced the office’s carbon footprint per employee while simultaneously increasing occupancy of the space by employees.

Reducing energy and carbon impacts; using green power

Each of the new office spaces is a major contributor to Autodesk’s environmental impact reduction strategy; most are powered by green energy, bringing renewables to nearly 30 per cent of the company’s energy use. Many of the new spaces feature efficient plumbing fixtures, which can reduce water use by more than 40 per cent over conventional fixtures. And all offices prioritise re-used, recycled and locally sourced materials and furnishings, as well as utilise low- or no-VOC finishes. The spaces were all designed to meet or exceed LEED certifications.

Autodesk uses its own 3D design software to design collaborative, open office spaces for its more than 7000 employees worldwide. Partly through the use of sustainable design in its real estate portfolio, Autodesk has been able to help reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent since 2009.

For many of the new office spaces, Autodesk and its design teams employed Building Information Modelling (BIM), an intelligent 3D model-based design process. BIM provides insight for creating and managing building and infrastructure projects faster, more economically, and with less environmental impact.

To find out more about Autodesk software for designing green office space, visit

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