Intel’s “Greenest” Building Unveiled

With natural light coming from the warm Mediterranean sun, shade courtesy of a rooftop garden, and a data center running energy efficient Intel “Nehalem” processors, the new Intel Development Center can rightly be called the “greenest” Intel building in the world.

LEED-Certification_250px.jpgIn fact, IDC9, as the building is called, is so environmentally friendly that it has been given the prestigious “LEED® Gold” certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, and also has been recognized by the Israel Standards Institute “5281″ standard for sustainable building.

As a technology company, we work unrelentingly to find innovative solutions for reducing our environmental footprint. The green building in Haifa provides our employees with a safe, green and healthy environment which saves energy and natural resources for the benefit of the building occupants and the environment.

Let’s take a virtual tour of the building.

IDC-9-2_575px.jpgPainted a bright white color the building’s most unusual features are two internal atriums that pierce the top three floors of IDC9, bringing natural lighting deep into the building. Wide, double-glazed insulated windows also let in lots of sunlight while keeping heat out, as do special reflective shields on the hottest sides of the building. Employees can customize the light intensity above their cubes to suit their own personal tastes with the help of an energy “app” installed on their laptops. They can also adjust the temperature and airflow from their PCs as well.

I was excited to know that the unusual thing about this building is how smart it is. The building knows on its own–using its sophisticated control systems–how to use its resources and adapt to changing conditions. If it’s sunny, it will dim the lights. If people go down to lunch and the floor is empty it will regulate the amounts of fresh air to the floor. If it’s cold in the office area it will take the heat from the data center and heat the floors–and the nice thing is that it will do it on its own.

Compared to buildings of similar size, IDC9 uses 17% less energy, according to benchmarks published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Some of the strategies used to save energy include:

- A rooftop garden that helps reduce the heat filtering in from the roof. (And, its really pretty too!)

- Heat thrown off by the data center’s servers is captured and used to heat water used in the cafeteria and in showers and bathrooms.

- Water that condenses on air chillers–some 5,300 gallons a day–is siphoned off and supplies enough water to irrigate all the landscaping around the building as well as the rooftop garden.

- Water-saving sanitary systems–including showers, faucets and toilets–are used throughout the building.

- The new Data Center uses energy-efficient processors, and is able to operate at a slightly higher temperature than standard centers, thus cutting cooling costs.

The Building is also within walking distance of mass transit lines, and there are spaces for 40 bicycles in the parking lot–as well as conveniently located showers for those who bike into work.

Environmental considerations were front-of-mind during construction too: more than 90% of the building’s construction waste–2,500 tons–has been diverted from landfills for reuse, and more than half of the wood used in the building comes from sources approved by the international Forest Stewardship Council. Some 860 tons of scrapped asphalt that was on the site was reused in the parking areas. Pretty much a case of “they paved pavement and put up a parking lot” (with apologies to Joni Mitchell))!

3 Responses to Intel’s “Greenest” Building Unveiled

  1. By the year 2020 all new buildings in Europe will have to be (almost) Zero Energy Buildings.
    In order to gain experience and to serve as good practice examples, government buildings in all EU will have to be converted 2 years earlier by 2018.
    So a building like this, with its different technologies and solutions, will be a significant source of information and know-how for the next generation of buildings.
    Well done Intel.
    C. Theopemptou
    Commissioner for the Environment
    Cyprus Government

  2. Dave says:

    Congratulations Revital and the rest of the Israel site. Nice to see IDC9 finally come to be.
    Hope all is well :). Keep up the good work.

  3. Cliff Blythe says:

    I applaud Intel’s efforts to earn the LEED Gold for their green building overseas. However, it would be nice if Intel were to review their internal specifications on their existing domestic buildings and consider revising and updating them proactively.
    IMO Utility upgrades planned for a No. CA Intel facilities – are actually considering replacing existing boilers with new HHW boilers that are Non-condensing boilers. The boilers they are considering using are only rated at 80% thermal efficiency, and have little to no modulation capability.(40 year old technology).
    It is actually illegal to install anything other than a condensing boiler in Europe, because they are so much more efficient. There is a domestic boiler manufacturer (in business since 1949) who has been building condensing boilers for over 22 years, which can achieve up to 99% thermal efficiency and have 20:1 turn-down (modulation capability).
    A global leader such as Intel should absolutely be setting the building upgrade standards for large companies in the Silicon Valley, and needs to investigate how they can do it better at home as well as abroad. “Think globally – act locally”.