WORKPLACES CASE STUDY: Renewing our Chicago office »

An office is much more than a place to work. It is the heart of our professional lives, the fertile soil where great ideas and solutions take root. So when JLL launched ReNew, the project to refurbish our Chicago office in 2013, we realized an office spruce-up wasn’t nearly enough. We had to dramatically evolve our space.

To achieve this JLL brought in our best strategic thinkers: experts with world-class experience in selecting, planning, and building modern work spaces. We armed them with insights from the people who influence JLL’s success most—our employees—so that the new space reflects how they want to work.

The goal for our new Chicago office is to create a workplace that meets the needs of a modern workforce, helps us operate with maximum productivity, and sets the stage for a profitable future. This is quite an undertaking when considering that the project spans six floors of the Aon Center, housing more than 1,200 people across 200,000 square feet.

The sustainability measures that formed an integral of the project from the beginning and were crucial in achieving these goals. Jessica Bollhoefer, Vice President in Project and Development Services, leads the sustainability effort on the project. She had this to say: “We know that working in a green office space has important health and wellness benefits. Green is vital to sustainability— the quality of creating a healthy environment that uses resources with care and supports long-term ecological balance. To make sure we stay green, we’re ensuring that our office in Aon Center will achieve a LEED certification.

“Additionally, we are utilizing our own JLL Green + Productive Workplace tool to benchmark, track and measure green productivity measures in our workplace and to compare our office to other JLL offices and industry peers. We are creating an office that is energy efficient and sustainable; a place where employees are healthy and comfortable to do their best work.”

Jessica continued: “There were a number of challenges that we face in making our aspiration for our Chicago office a reality. As you would expect, JLL is aiming for the highest level of LEED certification possible for the ReNew project. That said, attempting such a high level of certification in an existing 40+ year old building has been the biggest challenge. Through our project, limitations with the existing infrastructure and HVAC system have a significant impact on the overall scorecard.”

Chuck Kelly, Senior Director of Office Services and overall manager of the project mentioned some of the practical approaches used: “We are using advanced technology to create a more human workplace where our people can shape rather than be confined by the space. With data from an employee satisfaction survey to inform our decision-making, we’re directing our workplace experience to foster mindfulness, physical wellness, and dramatically reduced noise and distraction—a combination that creates overall well-being.”

Chuck concluded: “We hope that this healthy, welcoming environment will instill pride in our staff and make them truly feel part of a top-notch organization that cares about its employees.”

While we can make the biggest difference in our clients’ real estate, JLL also seeks to occupy more efficient and flexible offices around the world. We play our part by driving down energy and resource use and subsequent carbon emissions from both JLL offices and business travel activities.

Tackling our environmental impacts
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising as a result of operating our offices and business travel activities make up JLL’s most substantial direct environmental impacts. We have set targets to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from our offices. Using 2012 as our baseline, we have committed to achieve the following by the end of 2017:

  • Reduce building related greenhouse gas emissions per corporate office employee by 10%
  • Reduce building-related energy consumption per corporate office employee by 10%
  • Reduce rented area per corporate office employee by 8%

In 2015, JLL’s absolute GHG emissions were 64,826 metric tons of CO2e, compared to 49,344 metric tons in 2012, an increase of 31%. While our emissions increased, our business also grew with our gross global revenue increasing by 52% over the same period. Furthermore, the floor area of our global portfolio increased by 39% compared with 2014. This increase was largely due to JLL occupying 46 new offices mainly following acquisitions we made in 2015. Our performance against our targets in 2015 was as follows:

1.5 metric tons of building related gas emissions per corporate office employee

6% reduction

4.0 MWh energy use per corporate office employee

7% increase

195 square feet rented area per corporate office employee

11% increase

We also take advantage of the benefits of green energy; by the end of 2015, 9% of our offices procured energy from renewable sources, down one percentage point from 2014. JLL’s 2015 business travel activities generated 18,802 metric tons of CO2e, making up 29% of our total carbon footprint.

Greening our building portfolio
We seek to apply green building practices whenever we have an opportunity to do so. By the end of 2015 19% of our offices had green building or fit-out certifications such as LEED, BREEAM or RICS SKA. In addition, green building principles (without a certification) were applicable to 50% of JLL’s offices. 73% of our offices have alternative workplace strategies such as hot-desking, evolved open-plan environments, flexi-time and remote working. 68% of our offices have video conferencing facilities. We encourage our employees to minimize the use of business travel by seeking to provide alternatives wherever possible.

Engaging with our supply chain
The opportunity presented by our supply chain offers JLL a chance to encourage and influence sustainable practices on a large scale. We expect all of our suppliers, whether they provide goods or services directly to JLL or indirectly via our clients, to follow our Vendor Code of Conduct. We aim to apply sustainability criteria to our own procurement practices.

To download the full Global Sustainability Report, click here.
Review our 2015 annual highlights