By Anne Cosgrove
From the October 2014 issue of Today’s Facility Manager
At its headquarters in Parsippany, NJ, Wyndham Worldwide consistently raises the bar for efficient operations of its facilities—reflecting a company-wide focus on sustainable practices. As one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, Wyndham Worldwide operates 3.5 million square feet around the globe to provide a wide range of hospitality services and products.
Currently, more than half of the square footage it operates is LEED certified, and the company has been active in the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program for buildings for more than a decade.
Based at the company’s headquarters, Frank Campana, senior vice president, corporate real estate and facilities for Wyndham Worldwide, has overseen three LEED certified projects at the site. Commenting on the first of these endeavors, he says, “We had been monitoring many of our major sites via ENERGY STAR since 2001. In 2006 when we first began the lease process here, LEED seemed the natural progression in our best in class philosophy.”
The company’s facility at 22 Sylvan Way in Parsippany, NJ (22 Sylvan) opened in early 2010, and it was certified LEED Silver for Commercial Interiors (CI) at that time. In July 2013, the 250,000 square foot building was recognized with LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EBOM). Explains Campana, “The facility at 22 Sylvan was our first LEED project, and we have since had three more of our major sites LEED certified. Nearly 50% of our domestic portfolio by square footage is now LEED certified—whether CI or EBOM, or in the case of 22 Sylvan both.”
Now comprised of two buildings, the headquarters has earned three LEED certifications since 2010. The older facility—22 Sylvan—has double certification, while an adjacent building—14 Sylvan—was awarded LEED Gold-CI in October 2013.
This past June, the company received recognition for its operation of 22 Sylvan, receiving The Outstanding Building of the Year Award (TOBY) from BOMA International. The company was awarded for its achievements in the Corporate Facility category. Wyndham Worldwide won its first TOBY at the New Jersey state competition in 2013 and its second at the Middle Atlantic Regional competition in April 2014.
To date, 22 Sylvan is the first and only building in New Jersey to earn both the LEED-CI and LEED-EBOM designations. Another distinction is the building’s ENERGY STAR rating—97 on a scale of 1 to 100. Tracking its energy usage through the EPA’s ENERGY STAR online tool, this makes Wyndham Worldwide’s corporate offices among the top 3% of the most efficient buildings in the United States.
More recently, an ENERGY STAR rating of 98 was validated the company’s facility at 14 Sylvan.
Planning For Successful Outcomes
As Campana and his team began planning their most recent headquarters move—out of a nearby building and into 14 Sylvan, LEED certification was a project goal from the start. “The upfront investment and commitment to efficiency and environmental sustainability throughout the LEED certification process provides clear benefits to the environment and our stakeholders.
Any product or practice that focuses on efficiency will organically be reflected in our bottom line results,” he explains. “Sustainability is one of the company’s top five strategic priorities, and as one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, we know we have a responsibility to care for the planet and the environment upon which we all depend. Our commitment to fostering a beneficial relationship between tourism and the environment is embodied in our Wyndham Green program.”
Making the move in 2013 served to consolidate headquarters employees onto one campus, in two buildings. Campana was responsible for the site selection process of the new facility. He also negotiated the lease, and then served as overall construction project manager throughout the project. To ensure the sustainability goals were met, he explains: “As part of the RFP process I ensured that the building core and shell as well as the planned tenant improvements met ENERGY STAR and LEED qualifications. Advanced planning and preparation is instrumental in a project of this magnitude.”
He continues, “We ensured that we were extremely diligent in the selection process of all service providers, construction professionals, and vendors. We incorporated an integrated design approach. We were very clear as to what our goals were not only related to the timing, quality, and cost of the project but that it met the criteria set forth by both ENERGY STAR and LEED.”
Business Case For Green
Building and furnishing 14 Sylvan came in at 10% under budget. When asked what strategies or decisions can be attributed to this result, Campana shares several highlights: “There was an incredibly dedicated and passionate team with clear goals; we took advantage of all and any government and utility company incentives (the NJ Clean Energy Act, for instance); and focus, focus, focus.”
When asked if there were instances during the project decision-making where pursuing a higher level of sustainability cost more, and if strategies were bypassed for one reason or another, Campana explains, “We looked at gaining the highest possible LEED designation. When we were working on 22 Sylvan, many of the innovative products, such as LED fixtures and light harvesting, were still rather new technologies. But fast-forward five years later, and the technology had improved by leaps and bounds.”
Due to such improvements, the facility at 22 Sylvan has been retrofit with LED lighting in several areas—in the elevator cab and to replace incandescent bulbs, for instance.
Speaking about the LEED certification pursuit for 14 Sylvan, Campana explains, “Since we lease the building a simple ROI analysis was done with a primary focus on the level of fiscal impact versus payback period. Items such as main building systems were purchased with a focus on the highest efficiencies with a longer ROI since they were core to the building, and enhancements would not be practical.”
He adds, “Interior elements such as lighting were selected based on a more stringent payback period since the technology is constantly evolving and retrofitting these elements could be a less rigorous process. As technologies improve for buildings, we will revisit and re-evaluate.”
In order to keep both headquarters buildings operating to the standards to which they were LEED certified initially, Campana puts clear focus on the importance of the operations team. “Our FM group consistently engages in comprehensive training which promotes a work environment that encourages innovation and enhances development,” he explains. “We strive to achieve a cooperative workforce where each individual is equipped to perform effectively and efficiently. We work closely with our associates to identify and achieve our operational goals.”
To help ensure outsourced services meet the company’s internal standards, Campana and his team encourage an open dialogue to promote innovation in these areas, which include: building system operations, cafeteria, mail and copy services, fitness center, and nurse practitioner.
In this regard, he points out that, “Establishing relationships with vendors and experienced subcontractors, combined with a competitive bidding process, helps us achieve the best possible price. This information is crucial in offering sound recommendations for efficient operations, combined with cost saving measures, wherever practical. We know that communication is essential to achieving our goals and strive to build these important relationships.”
Online tools, including a facilities management online work order system provides occupants a way for employees to enter work order requests, view floor plans, and locate fellow co-workers. For FM staff, the system provides a tool to ensure that they track and respond to each work request within 24 hours, as well as the ability to run reports and review data to track customer service quality.
Campana notes other online systems used. “To achieve maximum efficiency of our building systems we use an online building management system that controls and monitors our HVAC and lighting systems and provides real-time data and trends to attain optimum design performance. Other online tools include: conference room booking, catering, and visitor pre-registration systems.”
For energy efficiency and reduction efforts, Campana says that “constantly challenging the status quo and ensuring we always research and analyze any new products, software, or operational systems available” is a central strategy to reaching goals and identifying negative conditions. “No win is too small,” he adds.
The equipment and strategies Campana and his teams have found success with include:
- CAFM system and reporting that proactively tracks trending of any potential problem areas (and modifying set points, especially by associate preferences);
- an integrated building management system whereby the staff consistently monitors and works closely with the vendor to provide further enhancements;
- motion sensors/daylight harvesting;
- LED retrofits where applicable;
- day cleaning, which reduced the number of hours in which building required lighting and HVAC; and
- continual tracking through ENERGY STAR equipment savings.
Aesthetics Central To Design
As would be expected for a hospitality company, the interior design of the facility is welcoming, comfortable—and sustainable. For the design of 14 Sylvan, many building elements were included to both advance sustainability and employee productivity. The lobby features modern design and the warmth of green materials, and provides the feel of a hotel rather than a corporate headquarters. The building itself was designed with an open plan layout, with large sidelights on offices to avail natural light to the open office space.
To help employees at the campus manage a work/life balance, the company provides numerous amenities that allow them to attend to many personal tasks without having to leave the campus. These amenities include:
- A connecting courtyard with Wi-Fi where the associates can congregate, decompress, or work in a refreshing setting;
- a walking trail that winds along the rear wooded property line;
- a WYN Community garden where associates harvest vegetables and contribute those crops to local food pantries;
- full-service subsidized café (The Town Square Café has become one of only two 4 Star Certified Green Restaurant® by the Green Restaurant Association for corporate dining in the nation.);
- nurse practitioner, health screenings, and wellness programs;
- a fitness center; and
- eco-friendly dry cleaning and car wash.
Commenting on the continued evolution of the company’s campus, Campana says, “By bringing Wyndham Worldwide’s family of companies together into one sustainable campus, we’re becoming a more efficient business as well as a greener one. When implemented correctly, smart business and environmental responsibility actually complement each other.”
This article was written based on project literature and an interview with Campana.