World Resources Institute Continues on Cutting Edge of Green Building Design
The World Resources Institute (WRI) is one of a small number of projects in the Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia region to receive an elite award for incorporating energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly design and construction aspects into its newly-expanded office space.
WRI - which conducts original environmental research and analysis - has completed expansion of its office space on the 7th and 8th floors at 10 G Street, NE, near Washington D.C.'s Union Station. The 7th-floor expansion has been awarded a gold status for LEED-CI, which stands for the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council's "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design," in the category of "commercial interiors." The rating system measures factors such as efficiency of water usage, energy performance of lighting, indoor environmental quality, Forest Stewardship Council-certified millwork and furniture, and comprehensive emissions criteria.
Dave Bloom of Envision Design, the architecture firm for the project, said, "In the next year, quite a few similar projects will be certified because many architects and builders are quickly becoming more in-tune with and capable of achieving these standards, but WRI is truly cutting edge when it comes to green design."
WRI moved into its current office space in 1999 and incorporated many elements of green design, long before the inception of the USGBC's LEED-CI program. This year's project expanded WRI's office from 38,000 square feet to 45,400 square feet and includes conference rooms, a coffee bar, a larger kitchen and dining area, 18 offices plus staff and intern work stations, and a media room.
"We set the bar very high back when our original space was designed, and this project gave us the opportunity to emphasize WRI's commitment to walk the talk as an environmental organization," said Nancy Kiefer, director of facilities and office services at WRI. "The incentives easily outweigh the costs of achieving green building standards. The premium for seeking LEED-CI certification on our project amounted to about $50,000 - about 4 percent of our total budget for the project - for air quality testing, installation of dimming light ballasts, the purchase of green power, and using certified wood products. Plus, the long-term savings include the health and productivity of our employees."
WRI's "green team" includes Diana Horvat, Michele LeTourneur, and Dave Bloom from Envision Design; Grant Stephens, Adina Salomon, and Leo Purpora from Rand Construction, the general contractor; Wendell Humphres from B&A Consulting, the mechanical/electrical/plumbing consultant; Laura Levine of Price Modern, the furniture vendor; the American Psychological Association, which owns the building; and CB Richard Ellis, the building's management company.
The other six published LEED-CI Gold-certified projects in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia region are the Society for Neuroscience and Nusta Spa (also Envision-designed projects), the United Nations Foundation, the Herman Miller National Design Center, Wetland Studies and Solutions, and D.C. Metropolitan Water. There are only 54 such published projects worldwide.
Washington D.C., along with a growing number of state and local governments are requiring or encouraging green buildings. The value of new green building construction throughout the U.S. is expected to exceed $12 billion in 2007. The buildings sector in the U.S. accounts for 27.3 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions, which includes 12 percent for commercial buildings and 15.3 percent from residential. Worldwide, the sector accounts for more than 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which includes 9.9 percent for commercial buildings and 5.4 percent for residential.