Research & Development
Sustainable Building Practices
Environmental responsibility begins at home, and we're committed to making improvements at our facilities to make them more energy efficient, to better conserve natural resources and to reduce waste. High-efficiency chillers, optimized thermal storage and upgraded elevators reduce power use from these systems by 40 percent at our corporate headquarters.
Our corporate park, the green space next to our corporate headquarters, is both user- and environmentally-friendly. The park features native drought-resistant plants, pervious concrete and a crushed aggregate walking track. A rainwater harvesting and irrigation system reduces water use by about 68,000 gallons per month.
Compact fluorescent lights throughout our buildings save up to 340,000 kilowatts-per-hour while T-8 energy-efficient fixtures illuminating our employee parking deck last longer than traditional lighting and save energy.
We are continuously looking for ways to conserve energy and water. At our corporate headquarters, we have turned a basement spring - that previously posed a flooding threat - into a water source for building cooling. We installed low-flow fixtures to reduce water use by an average of 1.2 million gallons per month and use drought-tolerant vegetation to reduce irrigation needs. Combined, these measures have reduced municipal-supplied water by nearly 70 percent and reduced annual water use by 14.4 million gallons – enough to supply 100 homes.
With offices serving our customers across the state, our employees work hard to dispose of waste in an environmentally-friendly manner. Our facilities recycle paper, cardboard boxes, aluminum cans and plastic bottles. An estimated 100,000 pounds are collected annually. All electronics are recycled using circuit boards and we collect approximately 10,000 pounds annually.
At our Birmingham headquarters, we partner with the food-service group Aramark to purchase natural and locally grown products, use environmentally-friendly safe and non-toxic cleaning products and promote portion control to reduce food waste.
We are making efforts to decrease rooftop temperatures, reduce urban heat pockets and cut building cooling costs through building upgrades at our corporate headquarters. We have installed roof upgrades on both main towers of the building, using new materials that reflect the sun’s rays and insulate against heat buildup. On our employee parking deck, we have added a reflective coating to reduce head absorption.
We are consistently upgrading our equipment and systems to be energy efficient and cost-effective. All heating, ventilating and air-conditioning equipment is tested and balanced to ensure optimal performance. By using energy-efficient heaters, we are able to maintain consistent, comfortable temperatures throughout the building. By modernizing our elevators, we were able to improve energy efficiency by about 40 percent.