Newly Redeveloped Unilever North America Headquarters Building Receives LEED Platinum Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded LEED Platinum certification—the highest level of LEED certification presented for sustainable buildings—to the newly renovated Unilever North America headquarters building in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Unilever North American headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. (Image credit: Unilever)

The certification process evaluates buildings across a range of categories such as sustainable sites, location and transportation, energy and atmosphere, water efficiency, materials and resources, innovation, indoor environmental quality, and much more.

As an added recognition of the building as one of the most technologically advanced and sustainable renovations accomplished in recent times in the New York metropolitan area, Unilever’s building has been entitled as the LEED Commercial Project of the Year by the USGBC in New Jersey. Moreover, the project was acknowledged by the New Jersey Business & Industry Associate New Good Neighbor Award.

Schemes for the new corporate headquarters were started in 2014 in support of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which demands the consumer goods company to decrease its carbon impact by 50% while improving its business by two times. The new building combined four office buildings from the Englewood Cliffs campus into a single, modern workplace. The project was completed in 2018.

The Englewood Cliffs headquarters project was developed with sustainability at its heart, and it was evident at every step of the process from choosing our partners and planning to construction and design. At Unilever, we believe we have a responsibility to make sure our operations leave as small a footprint as possible on our planet while also providing our employees with a safe, healthy, and productive work environment. We are proud to earn the LEED Platinum certification as a result of these efforts.

Nathaniel Barney, Workplace Director, Unilever North America

Workplace designers and planners from Perkins+Will assisted Unilever to create a future-proofed vision for its new headquarters—a concept and design called “the Marketplace”—which involved the redevelopment, creative retrofitting, and relocation of the company’s existing corporate campus. The 325,000 square feet reconstruction comprised of interiors and also the building of an entry pavilion and common area that merged the open area between individual buildings to develop a completely new, enclosed structure. The efficient building realized a 41% decrease in square footage, and at the same time, it can accommodate more employees, meaning it requires fewer resources to light and climate control the building.

The final building design features smart technologies by EDGE that log data and automate the features and functions of the building, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) systems that allow the building to learn from occupants’ behaviors and remember their choices.

The whole project was performed with sustainability as the main focus of the plan. During the building phase, 75% of the building materials were averted from landfill. A shuttle service from New York City, Hoboken, and Jersey City has led to a 40% decrease in individual cars.

This was a collaboration in the truest sense of the word. Not only did the new headquarters have to be modern, flexible, and conducive to employee health and well-being, but it also had to fulfill the ambitious sustainability goals set forth by Unilever. It all hinged on an incredible team working together to break new ground and develop a new model for sustainable, suburban campuses.

Paul Eagle, Principal, Perkins+Will

With the design concept and workplace plan from Perkins+Will in place, real estate experts at Cushman & Wakefield worked as project manager and, along with developers EDGE Technologies and Normandy Real Estate Partners, formulated a transaction approach and sustainability strategy that considerably decreased the headquarters’ energy cost to compensate for the overall cost of occupancy.

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