Considered one the smartest buildings in the world, Honeywell Global Corporate Headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, earned LEED v4 Gold certification for both the 23-story, 374,000-square-foot, Class A building and its HOK-designed interiors. Honeywell International’s smart building technologies combine its sustainable, energy-saving and accessibility features with Rockfon Sonar and Artic acoustic stone wool ceiling tiles to create a fresh, modern appearance and healthy interior environment that fosters innovation and collaboration for its associates, customers and visitors.

HOK specified Rockfon’s ceiling products to support the office’s sustainability and wellness goals, optimize acoustics and light reflectance for employees’ diverse work styles, and enhance the headquarters’ attractive, contemporary, high-tech aesthetic. Helping to achieve these goals, Foundation Building Materials supplied approximately 180,000 square feet of Rockfon’s acoustic stone wool ceiling panels and metal ceiling suspension systems to Warco Construction for installation on Honeywell Global Corporate Headquarters.

“The headquarters is a brand-new building,” shared Brian Norris, Honeywell’s Director of Global Real Estate, in The Facility Executive podcast. “It is, as we say, the smartest building in the world. Our LEED Gold certification is very important to us. We have LEED Gold certification on both the shell and core, so the exterior of the building and the interior itself, which is not always common. All the credits that we got were earned through sustainability efforts, through technology, through green materials. What we wanted to do was create an environment that was both sustainable and a positive experience for our employees.”

The project was purpose-built to Honeywell’s specifications, integrating its technology to improve efficiency and create carbon-reducing practices. Honeywell’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality in its operations and facilities by 2035 builds on the company’s decades-long history of innovation to help its customers meet their environmental and social goals.

In February 2022, the U.S. Green Building Council confirmed the building at 855 S. Mint St. in Charlotte had earned LEED v4 BD+C: Core and Shell certification. The USGBC LEED rating programs assess and award credits to projects for energy efficiency and other categorical measures of environmental sustainability.

In June 2022, the Honeywell Global Corporate Headquarters also was awarded LEED v4 ID+C: Commercial Interiors Gold certification. In the Indoor Environmental Quality category, it earned the maximum credits for low-emitting materials and enhanced indoor air quality strategies. It was also awarded IEQ credits for quality views, daylight and interior lighting. Other credits include optimized energy performance in the Energy & Atmosphere category. In the Material & Resources category, the project earned points for every credit, including long-term commitment, interiors life-cycle impact reduction and building product disclosure and optimization.

“In a time where competition for talent is high and there is an increased focus on personal well-being, the occupant experience will continue to grow in importance as more employees return to offices and workers set higher expectations for the environments in which they spend time – the need to create a place that employees want to go to is key,” said Udaya Shrivastava, Honeywell Building Technologies’ Interim Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

Honeywell Global Corporate Headquarters Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Eric Laignel via Rockfon

Improved Air Quality

For many workers, IAQ in office buildings is a concern and a priority. Honeywell’s 2023 Healthy Buildings Survey, which was conducted by Wakefield Research, included 2,500 office workers in buildings of 500 or more people. Of those surveyed, 68 percent said IAQ at their workplace contributes “a lot” to their productivity, two in five said their organization should address both improving the IAQ and reducing the building’s carbon emissions, and one in five said they would look for another job if their employer didn’t adopt measures to maintain a healthy indoor environment

Contributing to the IAQ and healthy interiors of Honeywell’s headquarters, Rockfon Sonar and Artic acoustic stone wool ceiling panels are UL Environment GREENGUARD Gold-certified for low VOC emissions in offices as well as schools. Low-emitting products with material ingredient documentation are recognized by such organizations as USGBC and the International WELL Building Institute. Stone wool also resists moisture, mildew, mold and potentially harmful microorganisms without using added biocides.

Honeywell Global Corporate Headquarters Cubicles

Photo courtesy of Eric Laignel via Rockfon

Optimized Acoustics

Acoustic quality and lighting are among the most impactful design considerations, HOK noted in Designing a Neurodiverse Workplace. “Effective acoustic design for the workplace provides a variety of auditory settings in support of diverse activities, locates them appropriately relative to one another, and specifies assemblies for acoustic comfort within spaces and acoustic separation between them,” HOK said. “Acoustic design may also consider whether a sound masking or white noise system would further increase comfort.”

To produce an optimal acoustic experience for office workers, design professionals combine sound-absorbing Rockfon stone wool ceiling systems with a high Noise Reduction Coefficient, sound-insulating full-height walls with the correct sound transmission class rating and appropriate background noise levels. Within Honeywell’s offices, HOK specified a Rockfon Artic with an NRC of 0.75 in areas promoting a more energetic atmosphere and Rockfon Sonar with an NRC of 0.95 in spaces where quiet concentration was prioritized.

Honeywell Global Corporate Headquarters Work Room

Photo courtesy of Eric Laignel via Rockfon

“This is a big deal for the city of Charlotte,” said Paul Dougherty, PRP Real Estate Investment’s President. “Honeywell moved from New Jersey and chose Charlotte over several competitive sunbelt cities. We are incredibly thrilled to have worked with the Lincoln Harris and Goldman team through this process and to include Honeywell in the roster of our blue-chip Fortune 500 investment-grade tenants.” Lincoln Harris and Goldman Sachs developed the 10-acre Legacy Union project, which now includes Honeywell Global Corporate Headquarters. PRP Real Estate Investment purchased the building with Honeywell’s headquarters in 2021.

Honeywell Global Corporate Headquarters Board Room

Photo courtesy of Eric Laignel via Rockfon

Visual Comfort

HOK’s Designing a Neurodiverse Workplace also emphasized that “workplace-wide access to daylight can result in increased physical well-being, improved mental and emotional health, and increased productivity and happiness for all workers. Several design standards offer guidance on daylight for workplaces. LEED’s daylight credit, for example, requires specified glare-free daylight illuminance levels for 75 percent of regularly occupied spaces.”

With 1,850 computer monitors available for employees in the building, it is important to manage glare. Rockfon’s white ceiling panels have a high light reflectance and softly diffuse the natural daylight and high-efficiency electric lighting to minimize glare and help reduce eye strain. Reflecting 85 percent of light, the ceiling panels’ surface maximizes available illumination while helping reduce energy use, saving costs and conserving natural resources. The white ceilings’ neat, clean appearance also uplift Honeywell’s desired, contemporary, high-tech architectural style.

Honeywell Global Corporate Headquarters Small Area

Photo courtesy of Eric Laignel via Rockfon

Thoughtfully Selected Materials

“To make people’s experiences inside these spaces as healthy and enjoyable as possible, we’re systematically specifying more environmentally responsible products and finish materials,” HOK shared.

Helping HOK and other architects, building owners and tenants make informed decisions about their material ingredients, Rockfon offers health product declarations, UL-certified environmental product declarations and Declare Label 2.0 as Living Building Challenge Red List Approved documentation.

Honeywell Global Corporate Headquarters Break Room

Photo courtesy of Eric Laignel via Rockfon

Biophilic design elements communicate Honeywell’s commitment to health and well-being. Daylight floods the workspaces and employees enjoy city views. Natural materials, live plants and a green wall bring people closer to nature.

“We’re building something special that will transform the most prominent gateway into Uptown,” said Johno Harris, president of Lincoln Harris. “We’re using stone to evoke tradition and glass to bring a modern feel. We want to make this a place where people want to be, meeting friends, doing business, relaxing or gearing up for a Panthers game.”