Matt Thomson

Matt Thomson

Facilities Coordinator, Gunderson Dettmer, Menlo Park, California

In early 2007, Matt Thomson, BOC graduate and Facilities Coordinator at Gunderson Dettmer in Menlo Park, CA, worked with his facilities management team on a small, focused remodeling project. The challenge was to convert what had previously housed a law library, an area of about 600 square feet, to a multi-purpose area for anything from client meetings or business presentations to CPR training or yoga classes for employees. The goal was to make it as comfortable, useable and energy-efficient as possible.

Nine windows were professionally re-covered using 3M P18 ARL window film, protecting occupants from southern and northeastern exposure, particularly during low angle sun periods. Of the work Thomson says, “We are very happy with the crystal clear results, which afford a very relaxing, pleasing view of coastal California hills, replete with redwoods and birch in this established business park. We enjoy backyard San Francisco Bay migratory flocks throughout much of the year, the ebb and flow of bay waters, ducks annually pairing off in the foundation plantings and a very special pair of red-tailed hawks!”

The ceiling was left untouched except for attaching HVAC flexible insulating ducts to existing return air grilles on the plenum side. This is an inexpensive yet effective way to minimize sound transmission between adjoining rooms. Existing T-12 lamps and ballasts were stripped out by facilities staff over a period of several weeks and T-8 dimming ballasts and lamps installed, with a single daylight adjusting sensor and a new occupancy sensor from Watt-Stopper. Initial lamp burn-in caused a few ballast failures, but these were promptly replaced by Sylvania. Thomson notes that, “The lighting controls presented an initial learning curve for our staff but have proven to be worth the trouble by allowing occupants to custom-alter lighting levels for the purpose at hand. I think our main hurdle making initial set-up adjustments was due to the window film presenting a narrower range of set points.”

One of the hallmark dictums of BOC training is working as a team to integrate operational strategies with innovative building design to bring about optimal solutions. Thomson’s experience highlights how successful this approach can be. “Although this was a small project, our estimated ROI is approximately one and a half years. But the sheer pleasure of the results, and the first-hand experience of the installation for our facilities personnel, has strengthened our small but friendly core group in ways that are best achieved through simple hands-on work.” He says, adding, “In short, we had fun, our results have been warmly acknowledged, and we strongly feel our team has added value to the firm.”