LEED-ing the nation
One notable 2012 retrofit was the U.S. Mint Building in downtown Washington, which achieved LEED Gold. The eight-story building, constructed for the U.S. Mint in 1999, saw the addition of a number of sustainable features, such as motion sensors in limited-use rooms to conserve energy, new high-efficiency lighting systems and new heaters for the fresh air intake that use about half the electrical load.
Woodrow Wilson High School was another Washington project to get a new lease on a sustainable life, achieving Gold status in September under the LEED for Schools system. New features installed through the $115 million retrofit included large windows to let in plenty of natural light, acoustic paneling for the school’s music rooms, a greenhouse, a green roof and a 15,000-gallon cistern for the plumbing system, among many others.
In particular, Babcock noted the importance of green schools in Washington. “Through effective implementation, the District of Columbia can have a real impact on the next generation being fed through these schools, giving them a higher expectation of what the built environment can offer,” he said.
Other significant projects in Washington in 2012 included Gold certification for Bloomberg Government offices on K Street under the LEED for Commercial Interiors system; a LEED CI retrofit of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s offices, which earned Platinum status; an EB:O&M recertification of the Westory, the first multitenant office space in the District to earn Gold status under that system; and a renovation of The George Washington University’s Lafayette Hall, which earned LEED Gold.
While the District has made incredible progress in making itself a model for sustainable community, Babcock believes there’s still plenty more to be done, particularly in revamping an aging and undercapacity storm water management system and coordinating interagency implementation, jurisdiction and authority when introducing new green construction codes.
“However, with overall commitment through effective top-down leadership, cross-agency participation and buy-in, and public-private partnerships, the sustainability agenda in the District can be realized,” he said.
This article was first published on usgbc.org.
Jacob Kriss is a Media Associate for the US Green Building Council.