Green Cocoon

Photo by Thomas Speak

Photo by Thomas Speak

When it came time for MaryKaye Cashman to uproot Nevada’s largest Caterpillar dealership from its outdated North Las Vegas digs to a new facility in Henderson, she was determined to go green. “It makes sense to me to provide an environment that is healthy for employees and respects the human spirit,” she said in 2009, shortly after swinging open the doors to Cashman Equipment’s sprawling headquarters on St. Rose Parkway. “I think your employees give back what you give to them.”

Three years and one Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating later, Cashman’s seven-building, 53-acre campus remains the picture of efficiency. From its geothermal heating and cooling system (which uses 45 percent less energy) to its structural steel (75 percent of which was recycled) to its 3,500 individual glass panes (which permit an abundance of natural light but little summer heat, thanks to automated shades that are controlled by sensors on the roof), the complex is green to the extreme.

“The building really works well for us,” Cashman says. “It has a wonderful feel to it, and every person that we’ve toured has been amazed.”

So too have her employees, whose work environment is literally like night and day compared with their former cave-like dwelling on Craig Road. “The biggest change that you see is the amount of daylight that comes in,” says Jerry Zupancic, manager of corporate facilities. “The old building rarely saw daylight. Now, most of the lights in the office area are either off or in a dimmed position. I’m in an office in the center of the building, but with the glass, I have my lights killed to half power. It’s just a cheerful experience.”

In fact, the only thing that’s kept Cashman from smiling the last three years is the slow economic recovery—which leads to the only thing she’d change about her building: “I forgot to put in the contractible walls to make it smaller. We have far more room than today’s level of business would dictate.”