Peter founded Dansko with his wife Mandy. Peter's passion
has always been with the environment. Long before "green"
became a buzzword, Peter was on a mission for
sustainability. His vision inspired and built our LEED®
Gold Certified HQ in the rolling hills of southern Chester
County, Pennsylvania. LEED® (Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design) certification is awarded by the U.S.
Green Building Council. It's independent, third party
verification of our commitment to a healthy environment for
staff, visitors and our community. We are very proud to
call it home.
Check out our Living Wall, which welcomes you on arrival at
Dansko HQ. A vertical garden of orchids, philodendron and
more. How does it work? More than a dozen different plant
species are each held in a soil-filled pocket and watered
through an irrigation system hidden behind the fabric.
While beautiful to look at, the Living Wall also serves an
important purpose. The wall acts as a natural air filter to
improve air quality for a clean and healthy workspace.
Two-thirds of our roof is covered by plants! These shrubs
and grasses, planted in soil, help insulate the building
and reduce our heating and cooling usage. What's more, the
roof absorbs between to 60-80% of rainwater to minimize
run-off and soil erosion around the building.
We have a number of copper rain chains, which we use
instead of traditional gutters or downspouts. These chains
not only look really cool, they collect water, which we
store in a 10,000 gallon underground tank. This gray water
is then recycled and used in everyday operations for things
like watering the plants and flushing toilets, reducing our
need to use precious water from local reserves. It also
limits the impact on our storm water management system.
The surface of our parking lot is "pervious", which means
that water can go through its surface and filter back to
the natural water table. There are also grassy areas around
the perimeter, for overflow parking if we need it. These
areas also work as rain gardens, with underground chambers
that collect rainwater and let it slowly absorb into the
ground rather than running off into streambeds. We also
have other rain gardens in the center of the parking area.
All these elements were carefully planned as part of our
storm water management system. Storm water systems like
these reduce sedimentation and erosion of local streams.
Our commitment to using 100% renewable energy for our
energy needs includes 1,100 solar panels on our roof, ready
to capture the sun's rays and turn them into electricity.
Right now, the system supplies about 25% of the total
energy we need or more than 300,000 kilowatts a year.
What we can't supply ourselves we offset with other sources
of renewable energy. Since 2008, we have been purchasing
renewable energy credits (RECs) from local wind farms in
Pennsylvania. RECs give people and businesses across the
country, the opportunity to support renewable energy and
contribute to the growth of a sustainable energy future.
We chose modular carpet tiles for our office areas. This kept carpet waste to a
minimum during installation and lets us easily replace individual tiles if we
need to, without having to rip up carpet from the entire room. Then, these
soiled or worn carpet tiles can be recycled and used in the production of new
We also have Terrazzo flooring in high traffic areas, like our lobby and
hallways. This easy to clean flooring is made of 100% post-use recycled glass,
which saves tons and tons of glass from ending up in landfills. It's super
durable and will possibly outlive the building - at which time it could be
reclaimed, separated and reused once again.
We used low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint
everywhere throughout our building — walls, stairways,
trim, ceilings. You name it! This is a very simple way to
make sure the air in our building is safe, clean and
healthy. This paint also has better fade resistance which
means ... less repainting! YEA!
Louvers at the top of each window inside the building
facilitate better use of natural light by reflecting it up
and into rooms. On the outside of our windows there are
what we affectionately refer as "eyebrows" — better known as
solar shades — which help deflect direct sun and lessen heat
gain. The windows used throughout building have a special
film suspended between two panels of glass for energy
efficiency. This helps control sun filtration, drafts,
ultra-violet fading and sound. Smart lighting automatically
increases when the natural light is low and decreases when
the natural light is high. In rooms that are used less
there are also occupancy sensors. When you walk in the room
the lights automatically turn on, and when there is no
activity in a room for a certain period of time, the lights
All flooring in our building is raised. This provides for
efficient use of space for air ducts and electrical outlets
and combined with the modular carpet tiles allows for
flexibility with configuration of the workspace layout of
any given room.
Green planning doesn't stop with construction. We looked
closely at every aspect of the building from the chairs at
the desks to the products used in cleaning. Furniture and
workspaces are all Green Guard Certified. Materials used
for workstations can be easily reused and reconfigured to
adapt to changing needs of the different departments.
Our open floor plan doesn't demand many traditional walls
but there are times when partitioning is necessary. In
these cases we've traded 2" x 4"s and drywall for eco-resin
panels. These eco-friendly panels have up to 40% recycled
content and are WAY much more interesting to look at! In
one area, we have recycled resin panels that incorporate
red beading and wire mesh decoration handcrafted by women
in Africa. The money they make from selling their crafts
goes directly back to their community. Other variations of
the panels feature organic reeds and native grasses — not
only sustainable resources, but beautiful too.
We know that there is more to a healthy work environment
than a living wall and eco friendly building materials.
That is why we built in quality of life components to our
green building including an on-site gym with locker room
and showers, meditation rooms, break room with TVs and a
We are proud to report that thanks to the commitment of
every single employee, we recycle 86% of our waste. Trash
cans at the desks have been replaced with recycling bins.
Specialty items like electronics are collected during
special drives and we have shredding parties to handle
sensitive materials. We have an employee-run Green Team
whose job it is to research best practices and keep the
rest of our team educated. We also maintain our community's
only recycling center making it possible for those around
us to help out too.
We hope you can visit us and enjoy the diversity of artwork
we have on display. My wife and fellow Co-Founder Mandy and
I handpicked every single piece. Lots of pieces we have are
made from "found" and natural materials. We have metal
sculptures by local artist Stan Smokler, folk quilts and
fabric tapestries, fun pop art, bronze work by the noted
sculptor Elbert Weinberg, kinetic wall art and a range of
drawings and paintings — from the young artists at Camp
Dreamcatcher (a local not-for-profit) to our neighbor Margo
Allman to Brandywine Valley's own Andrew Wyeth. In total,
we have hundreds of original pieces from all types of
artists in our community and around the world. It is our
hope that these creative works will amaze, inspire and
entertain everyone who finds their way to us!