Washington, D.C.-based architectural firm Group Goetz Architects (GGA) recently received LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for the firm’s corporate headquarters. The office is located in D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood and is the first headquarters of a Washington-based design firm to achieve Platinum status.

“LEED Platinum certification further demonstrates our commitment to sustainable environments for our employees and clients alike,” says Lewis J. Goetz, FAIA, FIIDA, president and CEO, GGA. “We are proud to lead this charge and encourage others to improve their social, ecological, and financial performance by greening their spaces.”

The 16,000-square-foot, one-story office features an open floorplan that is divided by a main boulevard that serves as a spine for the length of the office. On one side is a high-tech conference center, a library, and an employee lounge; on the other side is the design studio, which features communual workspaces to foster collaboration. A glass exterior allows 100 percent natural light penetration, which is complemented by daylight-controlled lighting to help monitor the use of artificial lighting. Individual temperature controls give employees further control over their personal environment.

GGA achieves 43 LEED points to reach Platinum certification. To garner five points in site selection, the site and building are located in a dense urban area with access to public transportation, use of which is further encouraged by bicycle storage and limited parking. The parking that is available is underground. To address water efficiency for two additional points, GGA retrofitted the building’s bathrooms with water-saving fixtures and devices that are 20 percent more efficient.

To achieve eight points in energy and atmosphere, the firm incorporated energy efficient lighting and lower lighting density to reduce lighting power by more than 35 percent. The lighting controls are sensitive to sunlight and occupancy levels, which further reduces energy consumption, while enhanced commissioning ensures systems are operating at an optimal level.

For 11 points in materials and resources, GGA committed to a lease of 10 years or more; recycled more than 75 percent of its construction waste; and reused more than 10 percent of construction items from the previous space as well as 30 percent of its existing furniture and furnishings. In addition, more than 20 percent of the materials specified had post-consumer recycled content and 10 percent of the materials used were manufactured within a 500 mile radius.

For 12 points in indoor environmental quality, the firm monitors carbon dioxide levels; monitored and controlled indoor air quality during construction; specified low-VOC adhesives, sealants, and paints; used controllable task lighting as well as individual controllable temperature and ventilation units; and provided daylight and exterior views to more than 90 percent of seated spaces within the office.

Rounding out the firm’s LEED points, five points were awarded for innovation and design process for exemplary performance of using more than 79 percent of existing furniture; providing tours and sustainability brochures to visitors; specifying lighting fixtures with reduced mercury lamps; using more than 58 percent of the resources from the firm’s previous office; and appointing LEED accredited professionals to lead and monitor the project’s sustainability efforts.

Credit: Group Goetz Architects