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Law firm embraces green in move to Highland Colony Parkway

The law firm of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada, PLLC, is headed for Highland Colony Parkway, and will occupy a facility that is incorporating a number of “green” components. Butler Snow is moving from Jackson to a new office on the Ridgeland thoroughfare, part of the lifestyle development Renaissance at Colony Park, that, when completed, will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified. It is expected to earn LEED’s Silver Certification.

Actually, this is not Butler Snow’s first green-building effort. It used green concepts when renovating its Memphis office, and the firm’s new Ridgeland headquarters — Renaissance 200 Building, which is a development of H.C. Bailey Companies — benefited from the lessons learned from that project.

Learning curve

“The firm actually began to look at LEED and the concept behind the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design approximately two years ago as we started the planning for the firm’s offices in Memphis,” says Josh Huff, director of marketing and client relations at Butler Snow, which is currently located in downtown Jackson. “We studied the concept of ‘going green,’ and made a decision in Memphis to consider a renovation and build back that would allow us to apply for Silver Certification under LEED. Though this process was successful, it was more difficult given that our Memphis office was an existing building constructed in the late ‘80s.

“Renovations of our Memphis office taught all of us more about green initiatives, and how to simply think more about energy efficiency and a more enjoyable and safe work space for our employees.”

In Memphis, Butler Snow, along with the facility’s owner and the contractor, explored how it could easily use recycled materials and low-volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, stains, glues and even materials that cover furniture and in the carpet. During this process, it also discovered how to use water-conserving fixtures and install lower-energy fluorescent lights and to look at more efficient HVAC systems.

“The timing of the Memphis renovation project was great to establish a benchmark of sorts to plan our Ridgeland office,” Huff says.

Tommy Murphy, Butler Snow’s director of facilities and operations, says when the firm started working out the details on the Memphis office, green initiatives were still in their relative infancy. He says the firm, the owner and even the contractor had to learn as they went. The learning curve was sharp. But he quickly adds that the firm has no regrets about their decision, both in Memphis and Ridgeland.

‘Green’ convenience

Renaissance 200 will be approximately 325,000 square feet, and will house Butler Snow operations and other companies. (Butler Snow will be housed on four floors of the building.) The overall facility will include: energy-conserving lighting systems, which also emit less heat than traditional systems; use of low water-use hardware in all restrooms; building elements from natural materials, many that are manufactured with low VOC chemicals; environmental systems that provide optimum performance with minimal energy usage; use of natural light in all areas possible to improve employee work areas as well as save on electrical use; and, recycling efforts.

The entire Renaissance office area will incorporate many of these features to allow for several buildings and office spaces to acquire LEED certification.

Butler Snow is working closely with its the design team of Jova/Daniels/Busby of Atlanta to incorporate as many of the green ideas as possible in the Ridgeland office.

Huff adds much of the credit for Renaissance 200 going green goes to the firm’s landlord relationship with H.C. Bailey and the Renaissance development.

Renaissance 200 is currently under construction, and is expected to open in October 2009. Chris Wheeler, vice president of real estate for Colony Properties at H.C. Bailey, says the building will contain Butler Snow and the accounting firm HORNE LLP. At press time, Wheeler says H.C. Bailey was in negotiations with another prospective tenant.

Location, location, location

Renaissance 200’s location also offers another “green” effort. The development offers shopping, banking, restaurants, even churches and schools, in close proximity to the headquarters. Thus, this “live/work/shop/play” area means less time driving, less fuel expended and lower automobile emissions.

“Butler Snow feels this is not only a great convenience, but also contributes to the overall ‘green’ concept,” Huff says. “The new Renaissance Development will provide so much of the amenities that we require to be close by. Exercise areas, restaurants, shopping, banking, several home developments and many churches and educational facilities are all within minutes of The Renaissance. Actually, biking to work could be very easy for anyone living in the Ridgeland area.”

Wheeler says H.C. Bailey explored green concepts when building Renaissance 300, anchored by Cellular South. He says that facility did not offer enough green components to qualify for certification, but his firm learned a lot from that process.

To that end, H.C. Bailey is looking at incorporating green concepts at other facilities in Renaissance at Colony Park. One is green landscaping, which utilizes practices that cut down on the use of chemicals, and he adds that Renaissance 200 will be a model H.C. Bailey will use when building other facilities in the future.

While Butler Snow had to learn as it went in Memphis, Murphy says now there are plenty of resources if a company is interested in green initiatives. He recommends the Mississippi Green Building Council as a good first stop for any interested in green building concepts and proce

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at wally.northway@msbusiness.com.sses.

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