In the realm of sustainable design, the focus often gravitates towards new LEED-certified structures. However, the essence of true green building lies not just in erecting a new edifice but in revitalizing existing structures, harmonizing inhabitant practices with environmental performance. This narrative unfolds in the tale of Sensory Environment Design (SED), a technology integrator committed to environmentally conscious design services, as they embarked on the ambitious venture of transforming a paint factory into a green showcase.
The Unforeseen Canvas: A Paint Factory in Need of Renewal
When SED sought a new home for its operations, the unexpected canvas presented itself in the form of a paint factory. The vision extended beyond mere relocation; it was a commitment to embody the principles guiding their environmental design services. SED, a high-service, design-centric technology integrator, collaborates with companies and individuals to craft technology-rich environments and experiences.
Having operated from a leased office and warehouse for half a decade, the pursuit of a space to exemplify their recommended technology and best practices was underway. The criteria were clear – a Minneapolis-based building, preferably near the Greenway, boasting a loading dock and shop floor accessibility at the same level. Location preference prioritized proximity to the city’s heart over high traffic, aligning with their reliance on word-of-mouth referrals rather than retail visibility.
The Quest and Discovery: A Building Reimagined
After an exhaustive 18-month search, SED secured its new building, an investment that translated to nearly $300,000 less than the previous year’s listing. The single-story block/stucco structure revealed a dual identity – partially occupied and partially vacant, with the latter having once served as a paint factory, complete with a built-in paint booth. Despite its rundown state and an uninviting entrance, the potential for transformation was unmistakable.
The Bold Decision: Gutting and Reinventing for the Long Haul
Instead of opting for a financially prudent move of moving in and operationalizing immediately, SED made a bold decision to undertake a comprehensive overhaul of the building. While financial advisors urged a cautious approach, suggesting generating income first and investing in the building later, SED adhered to a visionary perspective. The long-term goal of showcasing sustainable practices to the community – including designers, architects, customers, and neighbors – took precedence over short-term cash flow considerations.
The commitment to green principles steered the renovation journey, encompassing a complete gutting and strategic rebuilding. The transformed space would not merely house a business; it would stand as a testament to the potential of green construction within the city. This commitment to sustainability, despite short-term financial challenges, was a calculated bet that the community’s recognition of the eco-friendly endeavor would yield dividends in the long run.
As the renovated building took shape, it became more than just a functional space – it emerged as a symbol of sustainable reinvention, embodying the ethos of transforming the old into an environmentally conscious showcase.
Discover more about SED’s commitment to green design at CommonShare, where sustainability meets innovation.