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Panduit goes green at new headquarters

Building incorporates firm's Unified Physical Infrastructure vision; achieves LEED gold designation


July 1, 2010  


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Tinley Park, Ill. — Panduit Corp’s new headquarters in this suburban Chicago community, is a structure the company says represents a “dramatic leap forward” in collaboration, smart and healthy work environments, energy reduction, and cost savings.

“(This) brings to life our vision for creating environmentally sustainable and healthy places to work,” said company CEO John Caveney in June at a United Physical Infrastructure (UPI) symposium entitled the Nature of Transformation.

UPI is a set of offerings that Panduit says are designed to “help customers manage risk and change within the physical infrastructure.”

The five-story building, which meets LEED Gold criteria, comprises 85,300 square metres of office, conferencing and training space, enabling collaboration through open office concepts, shared work spaces, and the deployment of the latest technologies to connect internal and external employees, partners and customers.

The space will initially serve 550 employees and is able to accommodate a total of 800.

Green design features include:

• One of the first installations of light shelves in an open office environment. The shelves redistribute the sun’s direct light deep into the building and reduce the amount of power light needed.

• The first installation of a water reclamation system in an office building in Illinois. Annual water usage is expected to drop by 30%.

• Integrated smart building controls

• Connected building architecture, which bridges key business applications across the building, enabling the convergence of physical and logical systems onto a single network.

• Installation of a raised floor system from Haworth Inc. throughout the structure, which allows for heating and cooling, data cabling and desktop power.

Steve Lennox, managing director of Panduit Canada, was master of ceremonies at the two-day conference designed to be a joint show of force by the company and its technology partners that included Cisco Systems Inc., Rockwell Automation, IBM, Emerson Network Power and General Cable.

“The Nature of Transformation is about technological evolution, it’s about the importance of IT and facilities collaboration, it’s about realizing operational efficiencies and optimizing business systems,” he said. “It’s also about conserving resources.

‘But ultimately the Nature of Transformation is about the changing role of the physical infrastructure for the better.”

In an interview with CNS, Panduit chief technology officer Jack Tison said what the building exemplifies is that you can “actually save money” and operate at a highly cost-effective and still meet your sustainability objectives.

“Going this way was a pretty easy choice,” he said. “As an example, this infrastructure is a zone architecture, which is on a raised floor. That allows us to do a lot of things in a highly effective way. The cable pulls were done essentially in a single pull going from both the network connectivity end points and building systems. At the same time we are leveraging more than just twisted pair here. We have RS-45 cable that is taken back to our telecommunications closets and then placed on the IP networks. Not all the devices you see are Ethernet 5 cable.

“However, we do want to use the ability of 10 GbE because we know more video content and more low-latency requirement applications will be on this infrastructure. There are about 20 miles of 10 Gigabit Category 6A cabling in this facility.”

Other speakers at the two-day event included Michael Rau, vice president CTO, Borderless Network Architecture with Cisco Systems, Christopher Mines, senior vice president with Forrester Research Inc., and Bill Black, national director of strategic business solutions with Haworth in Calgary, Alta.

“IT has the potential to lead the business toward a lower carbon future,” said Mines. “We think IT professionals, their business partners and their suppliers should settle for nothing less than leadership when it comes to their position in helping their company achieve sustainability goals. Sustainability should be raised to the very top of corporate strategy.”

While Rau focused on the evolving role of the network as a platform that can enable change, Black focused in on the human equation.

“If you give people input, they will take more ownership because they are involved in a solution,” he said. “They are not just receiving a set of plans and specs.

“You can’t buy ownership, you can only earn it. And you can’t put a price on the value of ownership because when people take ownership, they will go on the extra mile. They will step in and go above and beyond the norm when things go wrong.”

He also urged senior executives to “stop wasting time and money on studies because you are scared to make change. Stop using the recession as an excuse to do nothing.

“If you are either too busy or too booming to do anything or too poor to do anything, we’re doomed to be in a non-innovative environment for the rest of our careers. There is a pile of opportunity and growing demand and a new value in the building that is being realized and it all stems around innovative thinking.”