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Autodesk practices what it preaches when it comes to green design

Posting in Architecture

There's nothing that sets my BS sixth-sense on edge more than a business that doesn't walk its own talk. Apparently, the managers at design software A...

There's nothing that sets my BS sixth-sense on edge more than a business that doesn't walk its own talk.

Apparently, the managers at design software Autodesk share that philosophy. The software developer has a lot to gain or lose as businesses around the globe reconsider and redesign both their products as well as the spaces in which they are creating.

Something like 38 percent of all the carbon emissions in the world are produced by buildings (or so "they" say). So, it makes sense that the leader in two-dimensional and three-dimensional design tools would look at its office space as part of its strategy to address its own status as a sustainable business. Doesn't it?

Accordingly, Autodesk in May 2009 snagged two Platinum certifications under the LEED building rating system, specifically the designations for Commercial Interiors. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) The two offices in question are both in San Francisco: the Autodesk Gallery at One Market, which is a space that the company uses to show off how software can be used in design, and its space in the Landmark Building at One Market. Interestingly, the offices represent only one of four Platinum-certified projects in San Franciso. I wonder if earthquake design and green/sustainability design are in conflict with each other?

And, what have we here: You mean to say that Autodesk used its own software to pull off the project? What did you expect? Seriously, the company's design team used Autodesk Revit, which it used to discuss the sustainable elements of the interior, such as the use of natural daylight and the amount of recycled content in the building materials. The firms on the project were Anderson Anderson Architecture, HOK, DPR Construction and Hanson Bridgett (which is actuall a law firm).

In addition to the San Francisco buildings, Autodesk is working on LEED certifications for a 65,000-square-foot building in Waltham, Mass. It recently received the nod for its Portland, Ore., gallery.

Autodesk's attention to green building design is smart not just because it's great for the neighborhood, but because the company can cite itself as a positive role example for many of its would-be customers. It always helps to give your sales team a nice little boost during sales calls.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure