Environmental Protection

USGBC Base LEED Certified; Council a New Reviewing Body

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) on July 20 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 (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system.

The new headquarters is located in the Foggy Bottom district of Northwest Washington, D.C. – less than a half-mile from four Metro stations and numerous bus stops.

"The vision of the space was to exemplify everything a LEED building is: high-performing, resource-efficient, healthy and productive," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, chief executive officer and founding chair, 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." View photos of the new USGBC headquarters.

The 75,000 square foot office, divided between two floors, is connected by an open staircase in the bright lobby, behind which is one of the space's most prominent design features: a two-story tall water feature, which helps bring the outdoors inside the space. The elevator lobby, reception and conference breakout areas are clad in 500-year-old gumwood that was salvaged from the bottom of the Tennessee River.

Aggressive water and energy reduction goals were set to reduce water use by 40 percent and energy use to be less than half that of a typical office. A dashboard system was implemented to provide real-time feedback on energy use. Floor to ceiling glass windows provide abundant daylighting to any workstation in the office, while 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.

Architecture firm Envision Design was selected because of its extensive LEED project portfolio. GHT Limited Consulting Engineers and James G. Davis Construction Corporation were chosen as the engineering and construction firms. All members of the design, engineering and construction teams are LEED Accredited Professionals. USGBC extends its gratitude to sponsors and donors whose contributions created the space: Ambius, Armstrong Commercial Ceiling and Wall Systems, Bosch Home Appliances, Convia, A Herman Miller Company, Crestron Electronics, Inc., Excel Dryer, Inc., Forbo Floorings, Haworth, Inc., Icestone LLC, Knoll, Inc., MechoShade Systems, Inc., Price Modern LLC, Sherwin-Williams, Sloan Valve Company, Teknion, The Mohawk Group.

In other Council news, the Green Building Certification Institute accepted USGBC as the first Education Reviewing Body (ERB). With this status, the Council can review and approve continuing education offerings under the LEED Professional Credentialing Maintenance Program.

ERBs must meet organizational and technical criteria established by the institute, demonstrating capacity, subject matter expertise and compliance with best practices. USGBC maintains a catalog of approved professional courses developed by a broad network of education providers, third-party organizations that submit high-quality courses to USGBC for peer-review. These courses are approved for LEED Professionals seeking to maintain their credentials and enrich their knowledge of green building theories, techniques and business trends. Recent efforts to streamline course reviews have resulted in a simplified, online process and a reduced annual fee.

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