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USGBC's new D.C. headquarters goes Platinum


Christopher Kieran

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) can now point to itself as an example of how businesses can build at the highest levels of sustainability. The organization’s recently completed headquarters, which was opened to the public during a housewarming party on February 8, was awarded a LEED Platinum for Commercial Interiors by the organization’s own LEED reviewers. The new 22,000 square feet office suite is located within the LEED Gold certified building of the Service Employees International Union in Washington, DC.

Photo Courtesy by Sara Harding/USGBC
The kitchen of the new headquarters for the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council includes many rapidly renewable materials, as well as reused millwork from previous tenants of the space.
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“As the developers of the LEED rating system, it was very important for USGBC’s headquarters to be in a LEED certified space,” commented Rick Fedrizzi, the USGBC’s president, CEO, and founding chair.

Beyond merely adhering to LEED guidelines, the creators of the popular rating system wanted to demonstrate that their principles of efficiency for the sake of the environment also make for a healthy work environment. “We are already seeing an increase in collaboration and productivity as a result of the design scheme,” said Fedrizzi.

Facets of the scheme, designed by Perkins+Will (the architecture firm was also a sponsor for the project), include centrally located common spaces providing opportunity for impromptu collaboration and open workspace with abundant natural daylight. The outdoors can be viewed from almost everywhere within the office.

Green highlights include low-flow plumbing fixtures like waterless urinals and dual-flush toilets, which use 40% less water than a conventional design. Other materials highlights include rapidly renewable bamboo flooring, recyclable ceiling tiles, reused granite countertops, non-toxic paint, low energy lighting products, furniture from the previous USGBC office, and resituated glass panels and millwork from the previous tenants. The aesthetic contribution of materials was considered in tandem with their green attributes, exemplified by a screened forest wall of salvaged wood timbers, provided by TerraMai and walltalkers, surrounding an elliptical conference room. Green building tours of the suite will be available to the public.

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