Patagonia Grows into a New Building
), the outdoor clothing and gear company was just moving into its new building, which was designed to facilitate future expansions. Recently, that planning paid off when Patagonia doubled the size of the facility with a 171,000 ft2 (52,000 m2) addition that it hopes will qualify for a Silver rating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating System. According to distribution center director and project manager Dave Abeloe, Patagonia’s business model enabled Tate, Snyder, Kinsey Architects of Las Vegas, Nevada, to follow expansion plans that were laid out ten years ago. “We were able to use planned cut-outs in the walls for new conveyor belts,” Abeloe offered as an example, “because the way we handle product has remained stable.” While many of the technologies in the addition are similar to those used in the original, they make use of improvements in energy efficiency and design. Like the old building, the new building is heated with radiant panels located just below the ceiling, but new, 92% efficient, gas-fired boilers help achieve greater efficiency. Similarly, the new building improves upon the original night-flush cooling system with more fans and more vents, using ten exhaust fans to pull cool night air through 35 vents at a rate of 300,000 cubic feet per meter (142,000 l/s). The newer cooling system works so much better than the old one, Abeloe said, that employees have started taking their breaks in the cooler building—and they’ve taken their ping pong table with them. ...