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May 08 69 XLConstruction The timing was right for XL. Interest in building green continues to grow among its clients—with a quarter of current projects being designed and built for LEED certifi cation. Among the current projects are an 80,000- square-foot laboratory training facility project in San Jose; the Science and Technology Center and Sports Complex at the Harker School San Jose campus, a design-build project that includes a new two-story, 50,000-square-foot concrete and steel science and technology building with a glass rotunda and a 200-seat auditorium; a 28,000- square-foot warehouse for an aerospace client; and a 23,000-square-foot improvement project for a pharmaceutical client. In addition to the original LEED Gold laboratory facility, XL’s own headquarters has become a green building showplace, earning Silver status. “It’s become a great tool for us to educate clients,” Laurlund says. That includes educating them on the other benefi ts of building green, such as creating a more healthy work environment, which in turn can create happier employees. In fact, XL has now been listed among the Best Places to Work in the Bay Area two years running. XL has built many sustainable practices such as those encouraged by the LEED program into its day-to-day activities. For instance, excess building materials are sorted by type at the building site, making it easier to reclaim and recycle those materials. It also follows indoor air quality guidelines during construction to reduce the hazards for the worker during construction and ensure a healthier building after construction. “From a project perspective, when we show up for an interview for a project, even if they haven’t mentioned green building in their request for proposals, we let them know what our knowledge is and what the benefi ts are,” says Laurlund. XL also uses its historical cost data on green buildings to demonstrate that a green building is often not as expensive as project owners may assume at fi rst. Achieving basic LEED certifi cation can cost as little as one-half to one percent of total construction costs, for instance. “There are companies that fi nancially can’t see a way to make the investment to build green, but we’re out there telling them that there’s a lot we can do as a construction company—sustainable practices that don’t necessarily cost more money,” Laurlund adds. “They start to see it as a benefi t, and they realize that it doesn’t take a lot of effort. Next thing they’re asking us to do more.” XL believes it plays a key role in helping to educate project owners about LEED and green building, drawing attention to specifi c elements of the program, such as water reducing fi xtures, optimizing energy performance with proper lighting, HVAC design along with proper commissioning, using recycled and rapidly renewable and regional materials, installing low VOC-emitting materials, and encouraging the implementation of natural light into the facility. XL is also working with subcontractors and suppliers to get them on board as well. “We see ourselves taking the lead,” he concludes.