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ChemSW Moves Software Development Office into Environmentally Friendly Green Building

ChemSW, Inc. has relocated their Ithaca, NY software development offices into the historic Gateway Plaza building downtown that was recently renovated using environmentally-sensitive green building practices.

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Green Buildings Revitalize Downtown Ithaca; ChemSW Enjoys Benefits

Fairfield, CA- ChemSW, Inc. has relocated their Ithaca, NY software development offices into the historic Gateway Plaza building downtown that was recently renovated using environmentally-sensitive “green” building practices. The advantage of working in a green environment has already increased employee satisfaction and pride in their workplace.

“We’re delighted to be here,” states ChemSW Vice President David Hessler. “Essentially this is a recycled building that was gutted and refactored with high-performance windows, a state-of-the-art air circulation system, better insulation, better energy efficiency – the list goes on. We only moved a quarter mile from our old site, but it is worlds away in terms of ambiance.”

The differences between the offices emerge in the small details. “For instance, even though there are more windows in this building,” Hessler continues, “there is less heat transfer so that it’s more comfortable to be near the windows.”

Built in 1924 on four acres, the six-story warehouse had been just another deteriorating structure in the downtown district. From a lumber mill, to a bus garage, to a printing press, to a warehouse, the building had been reincarnated many times before falling into disrepair. The site, however, remained spectacular, thanks to its location along the Six Mile Creek nature preserve that extends into the downtown area and provides ready access to hiking, biking and walking trails.

Fortunately for Ithaca, and due in large part to the proximity of prestigious Cornell University, the town had retained a vital, though aging, downtown core centered around the Ithaca Commons pedestrian shopping mall. But dramatic changes began a decade ago when Developer and former Ithaca Business Improvement District (BID) President Mack Travis and his wife, Carol, took the leap from spearheading the development of Ithaca’s long-term strategic plan to becoming financially involved in the renovation of its first green building.

“This particular building was a mess,” recalls Travis. “Initially I thought it would be too expensive to use green building practices which add about three percent to the cost of the project. But the advantages to the residents and the environment are high, and the positive response has been overwhelming.”

The renovated office building utilizes sustainable construction concepts based on LEED criteria but is not certified. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a rating system that defines stringent engineering specifications for building construction, air quality, energy management, use of renewable resources, etc. Travis recently received an LEED Silver Certification for a neighboring luxury apartment building he constructed on the Gateway site.

“For the office building we cut out a number of concrete slabs, replaced small inefficient windows with eight foot high energy-efficient ones,” Travis explains. “There is a “heat wheel” on the roof which tempers the incoming air, pre-heating or pre-cooling it with the outgoing air from the building. The building has a computerized energy management system, and the heating and cooling can be controlled remotely for perfect balance, efficiency, and comfort. The building is in a reclaimed brown field and is one block from a bus stop - also LEED requirements. Even the pavement in some of the parking areas on the Gateway site is permeable so that water runs through the material rather than off it, thereby reducing the size of the storm sewer system.”

Restoring the Gateway Plaza site helped jump-start the revitalization of downtown Ithaca, and was quickly joined by several more ambitious projects, including a new Hilton hotel, new downtown offices for 370 Cornell University employees, two new City parking garages, and a sister project, the Gateway Commons mixed use building on the same site.

“While Ithaca has always embraced sustainability, this was one of the first green buildings in the community outside of the University,” states Gary Ferguson, Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance. “We’re excited about a software developer coming in to the downtown area and joining the tech-oriented spin-offs that congregate in the downtown core. It’s a fun, friendly, dynamic place and not at all like an industrial park – a much more dynamic existence for a business.”

“It has been wonderful to see the restoration of the downtown. To take old buildings and renovate them, and to remove derelict one-story buildings and build new green buildings on the same footprint has made a huge difference,” Travis confirms. “ChemSW is typical of the young, aggressive professionals in the area, which includes law firms, accounting firms, architects, and other professionals.”

“Being located downtown was a top priority for us,” Hessler states. “We wanted to be close to other downtown businesses and to be able to get around without having to get into a car every time. It’s just a great place for our software developers to live and work, and we’re always looking for senior developers to join our staff.”

“There aren’t a huge number of new buildings available downtown and this one fit our growth requirements and offered a more stable environment temperature-wise thanks to its green features,” Hessler adds. “Being part of the revitalization of the downtown area in our town is also a great source of satisfaction.”

For additional information about Ithaca and the Gateway Commons Project, please visit
www.downtownithaca.com or www.gatewayithaca.com.

About ChemSW

Founded over a decade ago, ChemSW is a leading provider of chemical and biochemical inventory management systems, MSDS systems and other chemistry laboratory software and services. ChemSW’s wide range of products enable companies to streamline laboratory processes and reduce chemical purchasing and disposal costs. ChemSW supports over 10,000 customers in more than 40 countries throughout the world. For more information, visit
www.chemsw.com or call +1 707-864-0845.

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