USGBC's HQ receives Platinum certification

The U.S. Green Building Council recently announced the Platinum certification of its new Washington, D.C., headquarters, making it the first project to certify under the latest version of the LEED green building rating system.

Washington — The U.S. Green Building Council recently announced the Platinum certification of its new Washington, D.C., headquarters, making it the first project to certify under the latest version of the LEED green building rating system.

The council, which moved into the new office in March 2009, outgrew its previous space as a result of the growth it experienced during the last few years — more than 35,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED system. The new office space is 75,000-sq.ft., tripling the size of its previous space, reflective of the green building industry itself, which is projected to soar to $60 billion by 2010.

The vision of the new headquarters was not only to be a collaborative office space, but also an educational learning lab. Tours of the new office suites will be available to the public to showcase USGBC's green building principles.

“The vision of the space was to exemplify everything a LEED building is: high-performing, resource-efficient, healthy and productive,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. “Using the newest version of the rating system renders our space on the cutting edge of building science and technology, and will serve as an educational learning lab and highly representative of a transforming building market.”

Aggressive water and energy reduction goals were set to reduce water use by 40% and energy use to be less than half that of a typical office. A dashboard system provides real-time feedback on energy use, floor to ceiling glass windows provide abundant day lighting to any workstation in the office, and the electronic window shade system maximizes natural light while minimizing glare. These and other design integrations helped USGBC achieve 36 out of 37 points in the Energy and Atmosphere category of the rating system.

The planning, design and construction of the new headquarters was a rigorous 12 month process from site selection to move-in. Prospective buildings were evaluated on various metrics, including green provisions such as recycling programs and the desire to seek certification for the entire building. With three out of five tenants and six out of the 10 floors in the building either certified or undergoing certification, the Vornado Realty Trust property was selected as the location.

GHT Limited Consulting Engineers and James G. Davis Construction Corp. were chosen as the engineering and construction firms. All members of the design, engineering and construction teams are LEED accredited professionals.

“The committed group of individuals who work for USGBC, our unlikely diverse coalition of member companies who range across every industry, and our donors, whose generosity made the dream of this office a reality, ardently carry out our mission of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” said Fedrizzi. “The green building movement is as versatile as it gets. Building projects of every size, scale and budget are seizing control of our collective environmental challenges and are implementing the solutions.”