Bently Union Square

  1. Building Size: 10 Floors
  2. Lease Type: Full Service

Bently Union Square is certified LEED Gold EBOM (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance). An Art Deco building, it is one of the oldest and tallest buildings on Union Square — built just after the great 1906 earthquake — and it also offers some of the most tech-ready spaces in San Francisco.

Green Initiatives at Bently Union Square

A Green Buildout

Bently Holdings is devoted to green building initiatives and standards. Our office building at 240 Stockton Street on San Francisco’s Union Square is a living example of best green practices that span from the original build-out to daily life in the office.

After we purchased this historic high-rise building and began the build-out of our office spaces, we worked closely with our contractors and planners to reuse as much existing material as we could. We chose to reclaim existing materials that enhanced the Art Deco nature of the building itself, as well as planned our offices around our staff’s needs. The end result is a space with personality: a space where people want to spend their working days.

Design aside, one of the most overlooked benefits of reusing build-out materials is the reduction in lead time between build-out and occupancy. While this requires some careful planning and collaboration at the initial stages of a project, the time investment pays dividends during the construction phase.

Reusing build-outs also benefits the environment by drastically reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills. The average construction project yields 3.9 pounds of waste per square foot 1 — at over 50,000 square feet total, Bently Union Square would have put 195,000 pounds of waste into landfills were it not built-out with reused materials.

If we cannot reuse, we recycle and reclaim. One of the nastiest offenders in commercial build-outs is carpeting, which takes up a colossal amount of space in landfills. Because of this, all our carpeting is made from recycled materials. Many of our building materials also come from recycled sources. Demolition was taken and recycled, with the goal of putting nothing into landfill.

As for our tenants, we understand that each project is different. Our management team works closely with tenants to achieve the highest level of waste diversion possible for each and every new build-out, while accommodating their business needs. As a part of this goal, our Property Manager Anne Hill, has her LEED Green Associate credential. This knowledge helps her liaise between new tenants, the United States Green Building Council, and Building Management.

The places where we work consume more than two-thirds of the nation’s electricity and one-eighth of our water. According to the USGBC, LEED Gold buildings use 25% less energy and 11% less water, produce 34% less greenhouse gas emissions, and have 19% lower maintenance costs, resulting in 27% higher occupant satisfaction.2

Office Life

Most Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors, and many spend most of their working hours in an office environment. Studies conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others show that indoor environments sometimes can have levels of pollutants that are actually higher than levels found outside. For businesses it’s estimated that green buildings add $20 to $160 billion to worker productivity due to improved lighting, comfort, and employee satisfaction. A healthy indoor environment is one in which the surroundings contribute to productivity, comfort, and a sense of well being.3

As a health and air quality control measure, we use green non-toxic janitorial supplies whenever we can, and environmentally friendly paint products that contain little to no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).

Paperless Efficiency

Up to 2% of greenhouse gasses are a result of paper consumption. While we use only recycled paper products, we’ve gone a large step further by developing custom web and iPad applications for our staff.

Transitioning to a paperless environment can be difficult for many office workers: in the 90s office workers in America picked up the habit of printing emails. Moving away from outdated systems can not only be difficult for the average office staffer, but traumatizing for departments such as accounting where losing a document can result in problems for the company as a whole.

Because of this, Bently Holdings has meticulously created a suite of custom, in-house applications from the ground-up — we have applications for Property Management, Tenants, Engineering, Accounting, Marketing, Project Management, Time Clock, Package Tracking, and more.

It can take months (and sometimes years) of work to finish an application, but because our applications are so carefully built around humanistic, real-world use, they save the company money in worker efficiency, satisfaction, and in streamlining the company work flow.

Responsible Waste Management

In San Francisco, composting is mandatory. Building management provides building-wide training on compost and recycling, as well as tenant-specific training when needed throughout the year. During these training sessions, lunch is provided. At the end of the meeting, trainees are tasked with figuring out which bin each item of lunch refuse should go into: compost, recycle, or landfill.

We also provide quarterly e-waste pick up and routine battery collection through the year. Both the e-waste and battery collection are funded by building management, and embody its deep commitment to protecting the planet by responsibly handling these sensitive materials.

Going Forward

If there is a theme to sustainable design, it’s that there is an initial cost and planning investment that must be made, but the long-term benefits — both fiscal and in terms of employee productivity — drastically outweigh the initial premium. As Ashley Katz, USGBC spokesperson, says, “By building green, everyone profits. Owners, in particular, benefit from an increased bottom line gained through energy savings, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and turnover, and happier employees.”4

Bently Holdings recognizes the significant impact the real estate industry can have on the environment, and we are just as committed to the people who work in our spaces as we are to preserving the planet.

1. USGBC White Paper: Planning for Construction Waste Reduction
2. USGBC: Green Building Facts
3. An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality
4. Electrical Contractor Magazine: A Green Foundation