April 12, 2017
Gensler-Designed Etsy HQ Achieves Living Building Challenge Certification
NEW YORK – Etsy, Inc. announced today that after extensive sustainability work conducted alongside Gensler, Etsy’s global headquarters in Brooklyn, NY received the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Petal certification, the world’s most rigorous proven performance standard.
Etsy envisioned this project as an opportunity to instigate change, set a new standard for sustainable construction and design, and create a space reflective of its values, especially those focused on community, craft, and sustainability. The building strives to be a regenerative ecosystem, meaning it is not just a self-sustaining workplace but also a space that gives back to its neighborhood.
Many of the LBC guidelines, including a building’s comprehensive impact on local communities and human health and happiness, aligned with the values Etsy already held, making LBC certification a natural choice for its new headquarters. The project engaged local makers and artists to craft over 750 maker pieces, used only wood that was invasive, salvaged, reused or sourced from responsibly managed forests (Forest Stewardship Council certified), surrounded workstations with greenery, and took steps to ensure the air quality inside is even better than it is outside.
The Gensler design team worked hand-in-hand with Etsy for more than three years on every aspect of the project, including the intense process of achieving the Place, Health + Happiness, Materials and Beauty Petal Certifications. The greatest undertaking was the Materials Petal, which required the team to vet more than 1,500 design sources to ensure they did not contain any harmful or toxic chemicals, also referred to as Red List Materials.
“Nothing had ever been done like this before at such a large scale,” said David Briefel, sustainability director in Gensler’s New York office. “Essentially, we had to completely rewrite the spec book to make sure every component used on the project met the LBC requirements for being non-toxic, sustainable and locally sourced.”
Gensler helped achieve Etsy’s lofty LBC certification goals through design. The space features low flow and flush fixtures and a 3,500-gallon rainwater tank to support water usage for an extensive interior greenery program, including thousands of plants, three green walls, and three terraces of outdoor plants. The project modeled a 94,546 kWh energy savings from high efficiency light fixtures and daylight controls, as well as employed both an onsite and offsite solar arrays to provide 100% of the building’s power from renewable sources. Additionally, the project diverted over 90% of waste from landfills during construction, with excess materials sent to nearby building projects through a partnership with BIG Reuse, a local nonprofit.
“Together with Etsy, we evaluated the design far beyond just workplace performance; the project team looked at how it serves the community,” said Briefel. “Etsy made a commitment to be honest and transparent on how they are operating the building on every level, and the design of the spaces allows them to fulfill this worthy goal.”
LBC Certification is administered by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and serves as one of the world’s most rigorous sustainability standards for buildings. At 225,000 square feet, the Gensler-designed workplace is currently the largest LBC Petal-certified commercial building in the world and the only LBC certified building in New York City. Additionally, Etsy is the only public technology company to attain LBC certification.
Etsy is a global creative commerce platform. We build markets, services and economic opportunity for creative entrepreneurs. Within our markets, millions of people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods. We also offer a wide range of Seller Services and tools that help creative entrepreneurs start, manage and scale their businesses. Our mission is to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world, and we're committed to using the power of business to strengthen communities and empower people. Etsy was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.