Hertz Global Headquarters

After 28 years in Park Ridge, New Jersey, The Hertz Corporation announced plans to develop a new headquarters in Estero, Florida. This move would bring together its Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty corporate employees in one location for the first time.

The campus needed to showcase key elements of this American car company’s global brand, and Hertz also wanted to feature sustainability and increase efficiencies across the company.

Strategy

The Hertz and Gensler teams knew they wanted to pursue LEED, so they engaged Paladino and Company to act as the LEED program manager and commissioning authority for the project.

Paladino guided the project teams through a process that established five sustainability pillars and their key performance indicators. These pillars went on to act as the foundation for every decision of the project:

1. Habitat Protection
2. Energy: Efficient, Clean and Renewable
3. Employee Health, Well-being and Balance
4. Climate Change Preparedness
5. Smart Mobility

1. Habitat Protection: 400,000 square feet dedicated to thriving flora and fauna

The new headquarters is located less than five miles from Estero Bay, a designated aquatic preserve with mangroves, marshes, and protected fish, birds, and other wildlife.

Hertz had a choice to make – aggressively develop the 34.5 acre project site, or promote biodiversity by prioritizing open space and native and adaptive plants. Local zoning required Hertz to preserve 234,000 square feet of open space, but the first pillar of this project was Habitat Protection – 234,000 square feet wasn’t enough. Hertz preserved more than 400,000 square feet of vegetated open space on the site, exceeding the local zoning requirement by 71%.

This creative use of landscape limits disturbance while creating a native micro-habitat site that promotes natural growth and allows local flora and fauna to thrive. Endangered animals such as manatees, various fish, and migratory bird species, including bald eagles, herons, brown pelicans and many others will be minimally impacted.

Further, water flow is viscerally important to the health of the wetlands around the headquarters. Hertz limited the disruption of natural water flow by reducing its impervious cover like parking lots and driveways, and implemented onsite infiltration, reducing pollution and contaminants from stormwater runoff. A rooftop rainwater harvesting system collects rainwater and provides 100% of the water needed to flush toilets for the campus’ 850 workers.

2. Energy: Efficient, Clean and Renewable/RE-Power Florida

Paladino set a goal to reduce energy costs by 20% below the ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 baseline for the headquarters. To meet this goal, renewable energy sources and energy conservation measures were integrated into the final design, which exceeded the target by nearly 24%. The energy efficiency strategies demonstrate a 43.6% energy cost reduction over baseline.

There were three pivotal strategies to achieving this level of energy savings:

  1. The headquarters has more than 2,300 solar panels installed on the parking garage roof, which provides more than 15% of the headquarters energy. Hertz has fully embraced solar power, and has installed solar panel systems at 16 rental locations and corporate offices, producing over 2,270,000 kWh annually. That’s enough energy to power 208 U.S. homes for a year.
  2. Natural daylight is abundant throughout the interior office space, complemented by an open office floorplan. LED lighting is used in the interior, optimized by vacancy sensor controls; and the exterior, with photo-sensor controls.
  3. The mechanical design uses a central chilled water plant to ensure high efficiency, and a thermal storage system to reduce peak energy demand.

3. Employee Health, Well-being and Balance

Hertz was moving 30 percent of its personnel from New Jersey to Florida, and they needed to recruit the remaining 70 percent. Sustainability strategies and features would provide Hertz employees with the best working environment while supporting top talent recruitment. The wellness features needed to address collaboration, comfort, fitness, light, water, and air.

The integrated team ensured that quality and collaborative workspaces, natural day lighting and optimal indoor air quality were prioritized in every design and review. Thermal zoning, daylight and acoustic criteria were analyzed and adjusted to suit each space to its use. People feel and perform better with access to natural light and when comfortable in their environment. Materials were selected for the building’s glass façade that limit heat from the sun and reduce the need for air conditioning to keep employees comfortable.

The office was designed to foster both collaboration and heads-down focus. Collaboration areas accommodate a variety of group sizes and give teams the freedom to manipulate the space to meet their needs.

Indoor environmental quality is superior thanks to high efficiency HVAC filtration; low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, coatings, adhesives and sealants; and low emitting indoor finishes and furniture.

Further, Hertz encourages fitness and work-life balance by providing lounge areas, a fitness center and classes, and onsite child care at its headquarters. Hertz promotes healthy and sustainable eating habits too. The on–site cafeteria is one of the first 4-star certified Green Restaurants in the world, and provides healthy, organic and local food including vegetarian and vegan options. Onsite food waste is put to good use through a comprehensive recycling and composting program. Food waste made on the campus is composted in a “digester,” an onsite composter which uses microorganisms to break down waste into compost. Additionally, recycling areas are strategically and copiously placed throughout the building to encourage facility-wide recycling.

Most importantly, a green building education program is offered to all new hires to make sure the building and sustainability features are used to the fullest potential.

4. Climate Change Preparedness

Florida is one of the most vulnerable states in the nation in regards to climate change and rising sea levels. Therefore, resilience and climate change preparedness was a key pillar for this development.

The campus site is located just 15 feet above sea level, and is in a category 5 hurricane prone location. Therefore, Paladino integrated innovative strategies to withstand floods, tsunamis, and other intense weather events. With community resilience in mind, the facility is designed as a refuge for occupants during hurricanes and can be self-sustaining off-grid for up to 48 hours thanks to onsite renewable energy.  Additionally, a clean, curved façade helps reduce structural loading from wind during major weather events in the area, such as hurricanes.

Going off grid is about more than energy – a primary resiliency focus was also on water. The site-wide rain harvest system eliminates grid reliance during storms.

5. Smart Mobility

As a vehicle rental company, the Smart Mobility pillar is core to the company’s brand and is holistically addressed inside and outside the building. Hertz partnered with Lee County Transit to optimize bus line service to the property. Electric vehicle charging stations and preferred fuel efficient vehicle parking spaces encourage employees to drive more sustainably. Bike racks and biking/jogging trails encourage cycling and walking to work.

Similar concepts inside the building allow people to move throughout the workplace. The open, workable floor plan allows employees to use a variety of conference and collaboration areas. And conference rooms are equipped with teleconference equipment to minimize long distance travel to meetings without sacrificing personal interaction.

Results

The features and technologies integrated into Hertz Global Headquarters are projected to contribute to 43.6 percent less energy consumption and 80 percent less potable water use than a typical office building. The building opened in spring of 2016 and achieved LEED Gold certification.