Like many of his Sammamish neighbors, entrepreneur Peter Chee thought it would be wonderful to work at home. Instead, he felt isolated. He missed the atmosphere of being in an intellectual “think tank.”
Chee explained, “I liked being around other smart people — feeling the energy, getting charged up, networking.”
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Thinkspace. Located in downtown Redmond, just down the street from the city’s new transit center, Thinkspace offers 25,000 square feet of executive office space, for self-employed folks or small business owners who want to keep their overhead low but project a professional image and interact with like-minded peers.
Tenants share a reception desk and have access to a furnished conference room, copy center, kitchen and state-of-the-art communications technology. Start-up companies can get short-term leases. Small meeting rooms and mailboxes are also available for those who only occasionally see their clients face-to-face and don’t want to do that in their house or at a noisy coffee shop.
As an added attraction — and this is a hot topic — Thinkspace’s office suites are pre-certified as “green,” featuring ample natural light, energy-efficient lighting, improved ventilation and no or low VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions from paints or furnishings. Going green, for the benefit of the environment and for healthier working conditions, can be fraught with expensive obstacles. Here, the work has already been done.
In fact, Chee is seeking LEED-CI (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Commercial Interiors) status from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“This presents an opportunity to do something very creative and untried,” he said. “Fortune 500 companies can build LEED certified office space if they choose, but for the small guy, it is much more difficult.”
The Thinkspace building is seven years old. To be converted for LEED compliance, the remodel factored in demolition dust control and recycling of building materials. Careful research resulted in the awarding of a $13,000 conservation grant from Puget Sound Energy.
“We want to take the green concept to the highest level of credibility,” Chee noted. To achieve the Gold level of LEED certification, Thinkspace would have to replace the building’s HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) system, but being green often means making the most of what you already have, rather than rapidly replacing a system that is not brand-new but still quite efficient. He feels confident that Thinkspace can attain LEED Silver designation.
To better demonstrate Thinkspace’s commitment to green standards and practices, Chee has started a blog, http://blog.thinkspace.com, where he expounds about everything from how he selected his office chair to why his family is giving up bottled water.
On a quick tour of Thinkspace, he proudly showed off kitchen stools made of recycled pop cans — they are very lightweight but extremely durable, developed for military use and “made to withstand a torpedo blast,” he said.
There are counters made of bamboo from a company in Bainbridge Island and topped with recycled glass. Backings on the carpets are free of PVC, which can’t be recycled.
“There is a great feeling of social responsibility,” from taking this approach, Chee said. “And employees really appreciate a healthier place to work,” he remarked, citing studies that say workers are more productive when they aren’t plagued by the asthma or headaches often caused by pollutants.
Thinkspace’s leasing office is located at 8201 164th Ave. NE, Suite 200. For more information, call (425) 681-1369 or visit www.thinkspace.com.