Sustainable Home for Global Technology Leader: Infosys
For more than 50 years, a 70-acre site on the west side of Indianapolis held arrivals, departures, anticipation, and excitement. Then in 2008, when the new Indianapolis International Airport opened, the site that had teemed with activity became desolate.
After over a decade of sitting empty, those days are soon to be over. Global technology and consulting firm, Infosys, working together with Browning Day will make the old airport site home to their U.S. Education Center. The property, planned as an interconnected campus, features a training facility, residential center, amenities building, office buildings, and a pedestrian bridge connecting to off-site parking.
Intended to celebrate nature and warmly welcome visitors from around the world, the campus includes extensive green spaces linked by pedestrian and bike paths, which also serve to bring colleagues together for impromptu conversation or planned collaboration.
One of the unique goals of the client is to build the training center to one of the highest standards in sustainable design, Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. “This takes a deep commitment to sustainability, and we’re thrilled to have helped support Infosys in its environmental stewardship,” said Jonathan Hess, CEO and project principal for Browning Day.
Should it receive LEED Platinum certification, the 160,000 square foot training center would be the largest building in Indianapolis to do so. Striving for that level of sustainability required passionate commitment from the client and some intense problem solving on our part to address challenges inherent to the site without decimating the budget.
The site itself was a blank canvas, however connecting the campus to the airport, downtown Indianapolis, and the surrounding neighborhood – specifically to non-vehicular traffic – was a challenge. The client’s vision and local public transportation’s plans to add bus rapid transit along the campus created an amazing opportunity to increase access to amenities and create a well-connected hub for visitors. Building features like bike storage and onsite shower facilities also encourage nonvehicular traffic, which is an important element for Platinum certification. These features also increase health benefits for Infosys employees.
Sustainability drove the conversation in every way, informing material selection, planting choices, construction waste, and building life cycle optimization. In addition, maximizing light and approaching rainwater as a resource were imperative in striving for LEED Platinum standards.
The building itself was carefully designed to optimize the indoor environment for its users. Among other accomplishments, the training center achieved the following:
- Optimized thermal comfort. The majority of occupants are afforded individualized thermal control of their workspace.
- Optimized visual comfort. Natural light and views are a signature of the project. Daylight was fine-tuned for different types of spaces while glare was minimized.
- Optimized acoustic comfort. Occupied spaces were equipped with HVAC background noise; the building enclosure and interior walls were carefully designed to reduce sound transmission from space-to-space; and decisions for interior features were made to control reverberation time.
This made possible in part because the building interior responds to the conditions outside it, and because of design choices such as where glass is placed and how it’s shielded. Being thoughtful about how the sun affects lighting, heating, and cooling means that the design can take advantage of shifts in weather and the way light and wind moves through the campus. The design team ran simulations to determine how best to utilize energy, light, and water. This helped achieve the following:
- Over 60% reduction in energy cost savings
- Over 40% reduction in indoor water consumption
- Over 50% of construction waste was diverted from the landfill
- Over $75,000 saved per year due to on-site solar energy generation
Finally, because materials that are grounded in and responsive to the local environment are an important facet of sustainability – Indiana limestone is integrated into the structure.
“The challenge with such a high level of sustainability is that we couldn’t be choosy about what we wanted to pursue,” said Daniel Overbey, LEED Fellow and Browning Day’s director of sustainability. “We had to look at every detail, down to the recycled content of materials and how much they’d off-gas. I’ve never had such depth of conversation around sustainability or such close collaboration on a project. The level of analysis that went into this across several disciplines was exciting—and essential.
Being part of that process was “quite rewarding,” Dan said: “It takes vision on the client side. They’re sending the message that corporate sustainability matters, and this facility is a testament to their vision and to leadership throughout the team.”