Mon12222014

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A win-win for local law firm: Fenwick & West conserves energy - and earns award


Photo By: Elliott Burr/Town Crier
Photo Elliott Burr/Town Crier Fenwick & West’s Julie O’Loughlin, right, and Director of Information Technology Kevin Moore show off their green data center.

Adopting environmentally friendly practices in a business setting is generally considered a good thing. Being recognized for it, however, is a bonus, according to Fenwick & West LLP’s Julie O’Loughlin.

Her law firm’s Mountain View office last month was named a winner of Acterra’s 2012 Business Environmental Awards for its green data center, which houses Fenwick & West’s computer systems and components. The firm earned the Sustainable Built Environment Award from Acterra, a Palo Alto-based non-profit agency. An awards reception is scheduled May 31 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Palo Alto.

O’Loughlin, the firm’s senior director of operations and facilities emergency management, said the award serves as recognition of Fenwick & West’s innovative approach to greening its year-old, 3,500-square-foot data center.

“It just gives us another validation,” she said, adding that the firm has seen a 74 percent overall reduction in energy consumption.

The on-site data center was constructed inside an existing leased building at 801 California St., home of Fenwick & West’s offices. The firm recently received LEED platinum certification for its innovative data center from the U.S. Green Building Council, according to Director of Information Technology Kevin Moore.

The data center took eight months to design and construct. It features several customized systems, including a custom-built HVAC unit designed to minimize the center’s carbon footprint and a custom-designed chiller. In addition, the center uses a high-efficiency uninterruptible power system with static bypass and an intelligent light control system with “follow-me” lights to reduce energy consumption, among other features.

O’Loughlin said the center’s innovative custom-built systems made the process of attaining LEED platinum certification particularly challenging, “because some of the technology we use is so unique that there was no way to really benchmark it.”

She noted that the center’s construction included repurposing several existing materials, such as the space’s ductwork and doors. The center’s flooring was remade from recycled materials, she added.

“We really looked at every piece of material and thought, ‘Does this have a purpose?’” she said.

In addition to its data center, Fenwick & West has implemented other green initiatives. They include a rideshare program that boasts a 60 percent employee participation rate, the installation of six on-site electric-vehicle charging stations, enlarging its employee bike storage area and subsidizing Caltrain tickets for its employees.

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