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By Linda F. Jarrett

As a BioBelt leader in animal health and nutrition, Novus International determined their new global headquarters would be no less. Recently, they welcomed Gov. Jay Nixon and 450 other guests to their ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building in Missouri Research Park. It is a facility that carries a Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certication, the highest designation available to buildings demonstrating energy efciency.

The building is the fourth in Missouri to achieve this distinction and one of fewer than 150 buildings in the United States to receive the designation, which is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The 90,000-square-foot facility combines the Novus headquarters with its International Research Center into a single building.

“The theme for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for our headquarters was Sustainable Culture, Global Vision. For our team at Novus, true sustainability is a culture that begins on an individual level, offering the opportunity for people, the environment and businesses to benefit. When you tour our headquarters facility, you see many examples of our sustainable culture, from access to healthy food and exercise to a Research and Development team that delivers products and services that empower our customers to build their businesses both profitably and responsibly. This facility is an expression of the culture we aspire to each day,” says Thad Simons Jr., Novus president and CEO.


Simons says Novus became interested in pursuing LEED certification when plans were put into motion to join the headquarters, which was then located in Maryville Center, and the laboratory at Missouri Research Park.

“Our lease at Maryville Center was coming up in October of 2008, and I thought we should start planning for a new building,” he says.

Simons gave Don Vondriska, director of business development, management of the project and brought up the idea of LEED certification.

“We both went out and educated ourselves on the process,” Vondriska says. One of the first things they did was tour the Alberici building, the first Platinum LEED certified building in Missouri.

“We knew our building was going to be different for a number of reasons,” Vondriska says. “First of all, we would be in St. Charles County, not an industrial area. We would not have the luxury of the space they have indoors, and we would have to be more creative with our use of space.”

Features of the Novus International Inc. Global Headquarters facility which contribute to the achievement of Platinum LEED certification, include:
The second largest array of solar panels in Missouri (5,000 square feet).
10% of the total materials cost came from salvaged materials.
30% of the total materials cost came from recycled content. Examples include countertops made from recycled milk jugs and scrap aluminum, fitness room floor made from recycled tires, and carpet containing recycled yarn.
Under-floor air distribution system; this state-of-the-art system is extremely energy efficient.
Landscape using Missouri native grasses and plants designed torequire no irrigation, equating to thousands of gallons of water saved each year.
A storm water system that will greatly reduce the environmental impact of runoff and improve water quality to receiving streams and eventually the Missouri River.
Skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the use of natural light.
Preferred parking for low emitting and fuel efficient vehicles.


Paul Todd Merrill, P.E., LEED AP, director of sustainable construction for Clayco, says that Clayco has “always identified with green building and practiced sustainable measures in our buildings. We just didn’t call them green.

“How you handle a site to build a building, whether it’s a green field site or a previously-developed site, how you either haul off or bring in dirt, how you place a building on the site, and what you do with storm water—we were doing that anyway,” Merrill says. “It just so happened that it fell in line with the sustainability movement.”

He says materials used by Clayco have always had a high recycled content. “We’ve been putting in energy-efficient lighting, and heating and cooling systems, so we like to say we’ve been practicing sustainability since the company started 30 years ago.”

The Novus project, he says, was a unique situation. “We had a client who was definitely driven by issues regarding ecological design and intergenerational justice. They have corporate missions within the organization where they’re really trying to change and transform the world from a global perspective.

“Because they’re an international company, they really brought to us a lot of perspectives that we have not heard from many of our clients before,” Merrill says. “It’s more than just points on a LEED chart. It had more to do with how they had been running their business and what they’re transforming their whole company into from a very holistic approach. They are looking at things from a cradle to grave perspective. Where are these materials coming from? How are we impacting the communities?”


The project was a challenge in that the new building had to connect with the standing research building, which had been at Missouri Research Park since 1993.

“We moved in right before the 1993 flood,” Simons says, adding that transporting personnel from Maryville Center to the laboratory proved to be quite a challenge.

Clayco worked its magic and integrated the research building with the new one, adding open spaces that compliment Novus’ holistic goal.

Simons is justly proud of the new building. Visitors approach through a wide expanse of light-colored concrete that reflects the light rather than attracting heat. A fountain with the Novus logo centers the entrance. Rock walls flanking the building will soon be covered with ivy, as will a pergola at the entrance. Native Missouri plants make up the entire landscaping.

“We don’t have to irrigate this site,” Simons says. “We had to obtain a waiver from Missouri Research Park because tenants are required to do irrigation and lawn maintenance, but we have no lawn. Our site uses native grasses and flowers as the primary landscaping. These plants thrive in our climate and will provide the Park and our facility with a unique look in the coming years.”

The entrance floor is made from bamboo, and countertops in the reception area are made from recycled bottles and wood shavings.

Employees and visitors can relax on benches in a Zen garden with bamboo and a waterfall off the first floor. The second floor features a rock garden with more native plants and a sitting area.

“We have been able to complete a beautiful building that improves our productivity and encourages innovation,” Simons says.

Indeed. When Novus employees go to work, they drive through winding wooded hills of St. Charles County to a building nestled in trees.

They eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol and low-sodium catered lunch, while gazing out large windows to a pond surrounded by large trees. For relaxation, they can walk the nearby hiking/biking trail that will eventually connect to the Katy Trail. Or they can go to the fully-equipped gym. Or they can get a massage. Or take a Yoga or Pilates class.

The office space promotes employee collaboration with large open common areas including coffee bars, lounge areas as well as meeting spaces ranging from large conference rooms to “huddle spaces” for small, private meetings.

Bamboo-wrapped credenzas with hanging lights divide the cubicles giving the feel of a library, and natural lighting infuses the work areas.


Originally part of Monsanto, Novus became its own company in 1991 when Mitsui and Nippon Soda acquired Monsanto’s MHA and ALIMET.

“We are an animal health and nutrition company,” Simons says. “Our products and programs address production and health concerns facing producers, veterinarians and animal nutritionists. When producers feed animals a diet, such as soybeans, it’s deficient in protein. Different species require different types of feed enrichment to address the animals’ nutrition requirements to maintain optimal health.

“In the United States, we feed corn and soybeans. In Canada they feed a lot of wheat, and in Europe a lot of sunflower seeds. Our scientists, field technical staff and employees help the industry find the right diet, and our supplements help to balance the nutritional requirements. So it’s in terms natural production, we assist with growing the animal efficiently without the use of drugs helping creating a sustainable culture through our global vision.”

With Novus’ goal of meeting the growing global need for nutrition and health, the company is walking the talk with its new global headquarters and providing its employees with a working environment that reflects its mission statement.



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Ibrahim & Fazira Vajzovic

Sen. Kit Bond

SciFest 2009

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Thad Simons Jr. & Don Vondriska, Novus International

Wendy Henry, BKD LLP

Mark Mantovani, NSI

Remy’s Kitchen & Wine Bar

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