April 11, 2008
Cherokee, a private equity firm that specializes in the sustainable redevelopment of environmentally impaired properties worldwide,
received Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s
(USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green
building rating system for its new corporate headquarters. The firm’s Platinum-certified headquarters is in a hundred-year-old historic building in downtown Raleigh, N.C. Cherokee worked with local groups, Tise-Kiester Architects, Empire Hardhat Construction, Carter & Burgess, Engineered Designs, Inc. and Thompson Consulting to rehabilitate the former furniture warehouse into an innovative, award-winning, green building that is fit with hundreds of environmentally responsible and high performance features.
Cherokee’s new office is one of only 61 LEED Platinum projects in the world, and the first ever in North Carolina. Only six percent of the LEED-certified projects worldwide are designated with Platinum status. Moreover, Cherokee's headquarters is one of a few known historic renovations worldwide that have earned this distinct honor and the first LEED-certified building in the city of Raleigh.
Cherokee Investment Corporation is a private equity firm that specializes in brownfield redevelopment. Created in 1984, the firm focuses on delivering strong financial returns while creating positive environmental and social results. Headquartered in downtown Raleigh, N.C., Cherokee has invested in nearly 550 properties worldwide and currently has over $2 billion under their management. To support the organization’s mission and illuminate its values, Cherokee sought to inhabit a facility in downtown Raleigh that needed a little TLC. “We were outgrowing our past office space and decided we had to move,” says Chris Wedding, Cherokee’s LEED accredited professional on the project. “We wanted to make sure that the place we moved into fit not just our values, but also our business focus.” In addition to increasing value in the downtown infrastructure by renovating a historic property, Cherokee also sought to provide their employees a work environment that was as healthy and sustainable as possible.
Begun as a shell renovation, the project combined 8 properties with 10 addresses in downtown Raleigh. The shell building occupies a corner of downtown and encompasses 48,000 square feet. Cherokee, the primary tenant occupies 22,000 square feet. The new facility incorporates energy-saving concepts such as a highly insulated, reflective roof to reduce heat gain, ENERGY STAR-certified office equipment and efficient lighting systems. Craig A. Carbrey, AIA, the project architect, explains that daylighting was the toughest issue for the design team. “The fact that it was an existing building made that much more challenging, since only the south and west walls of the existing buildings had windows,” he says. They hurdled the obstacle by “cutting a few strategic windows here and there” so that 90 percent of the office occupants have views to the exterior. Other sustainable measures include high use of FSC-certified woods, efficient faucets and waterless urinals, high efficiency HVAC, and zero- or low-VOC paints, adhesives, sealants, furniture, and carpeting. The facility provides occupants with easy access to public transportation, along with showers and bike storage to encourage zero-emission transportation. Through the carefully executed renovation, approximately 86 percent of the construction and demolition waste was diverted from the landfill. Greater than 60 percent of the office interior was reused, yet energy consumption is reduced by over one-quarter and water consumption is down by nearly half. Finally, the office workstations selected by Cherokee contain 82 percent recycled content.
Cherokee is the leading private equity firm investing capital and expertise in brownfield redevelopment. For more than two decades, Cherokee’s executive team has produced strong financial returns while delivering positive environmental and social results. Cherokee has invested in more than 525 properties worldwide. The firm has more than $2 billion under management and is currently investing its fourth fund. The company has evolved its leadership role in the reclamation of brownfields by applying expertise, creativity and resolve to sustainable redevelopment of properties after remediation.
U.S Green Building Council:
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit organization committed to expanding sustainable building practices. USGBC is composed of more than 13,500 organizations from across the building industry that are working to advance structures that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work. Members includes building owners and end-users, real estate developers, facility managers, architects, designers, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, product and building system manufacturers, government agencies, and nonprofits.
USGBC's mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System:
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.
LEED is a third party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Architects, real estate professionals, facility managers, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, construction managers, lenders and government officials all use LEED to help transform the built environment to sustainability. State and local governments across the country are adopting LEED for public-owned and public-funded buildings; there are LEED initiatives in federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, Energy, and State; and LEED projects are in progress in 41 different countries, including Canada, Brazil, Mexico and India.
LEED Rating Systems are developed through an open, consensus-based process led by LEED committees. Each volunteer committee is composed of a diverse group of practitioners and experts representing a cross-section of the building and construction industry. The key elements of USGBC's consensus process include a balanced and transparent committee structure, technical advisory groups that ensure scientific consistency and rigor, opportunities for stakeholder comment and review, member ballot of new rating systems, and a fair and open appeals process.