Mmm Mmm Good, Green

August 18, 2008
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CALEDONIA — The goals the company set for its new headquarters were to minimize the structure’s impact on the environment, lower the firm’s operating costs and provide a healthy workplace for its 150 employees.

And The Campbell Group, one of the state’s largest independent insurance providers, succeeded in accomplishing all three with its LEED-certified corporate home at 5650 Prairie Creek Drive in Caledonia Township.

“The Campbell Group chose to build a LEED-certified facility because it’s the right thing to do for the environment and for our greatest asset, our employees,” said Chairman and CEO Edward Schinnerer Jr.

“This building is conducive to our future growth and direction, and is a reflection of our recent ranking of No. 1 in top area business insurance agencies by the Grand Rapids Business Journal,” he added.

The Campbell Group outgrew its location in Byron Center and decided to build a new two-story, 52,000-square-foot building with a large, open floor plan that would offer amenities. A 4,000-square-foot café is on the first floor, while a fitness area, a training room and an information technology center are all situated in a large walkout basement that measures 8,000 square feet.

“This building is operationally efficient, which translates into less use of natural resources and a nice cost savings on utilities for The Campbell Group. Our new building is bright, new, open, collaborative, ergonomically sound, creates an overall healthy environment, and is positioned in a setting that provides opportunity for physical exercise for our employees,” said Schinnerer.

The building has a steel frame, and the exterior is a mix of tinted glass, stone veneer and horizontal metal panel accents. The design, by Integrated Architects, gives all four sides of the building a great view of the site’s wooded areas, ponds and wildlife. The property also has a waterfall and fountains.

“This is an uplifting facility that will make it a joy for people that work in it to go to work every day. Each view out any window is like looking at a wildlife nature scene,” said Mike Kelly, president of Wolverine Building Inc., the project’s general contractor.

Kelly said a lot of planning went into incorporating LEED construction practices into the project. The heating and cooling system, the plumbing, the windows and the office furniture have features that encourage environmental preservation. The carpets, wood and paint consist of low-emitting materials. Natural daytime lighting was increased, a move that should cut down its energy consumption.

The sinks, toilets and urinals are water efficient, and energy-saving appliances were installed. All the construction waste was recycled.

“We are carrying this through as we move in, with things like recycling and stocking vending machines with healthy choices,” said Schinnerer.

Environmental considerations were extended to the building site. Plants native to the area play a major role in the landscaping, and a specially built, rain-collecting pond provides irrigation for the lawn.

“The goal here was to build a facility that works with its environment, not against it,” said Vaughn Aikens, LEED project manager for Wolverine Building Inc. “Being good stewards of our planet isn’t as hard as you might think.”

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