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USGBC Walks Its Talk with New D.C. Headquarters


With its LEED Green Building Program, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has certainly changed the way developers and architects approach hotel design and operations. Walking its talk, USGBC has made its new headquarters in Washington, D.C. a standing example of what to strive for. In fact, USGBC just announced that its headquarters has been awarded a prestigious triple Platinum certification in LEEDTRUE, and WELL. This trio of certifications reflects USGBC’s commitment to healthy, productive, sustainable, and responsible work environments.

The headquarters, which also houses Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI), reflects the changing office landscape, with a clear emphasis on decarbonization, indoor environmental quality and resource efficiency.

Many Materials Reused

The USGBC headquarters, located within a LEED Gold-certified existing building, prioritized reuse from furniture to equipment to supplies, contributing to an outstanding 44 percent reduction in embodied carbon emissions—below the Carbon Leadership Forum baseline for an interior buildout. Workspaces were reconfigured and the project reused all kitchen materials, mailing supplies, flooring from the lobby, window shades, and much more.

  • 95 percent of the original construction materials were reused or diverted from landfill, including ceiling tiles, ceiling grid, drywall, glass panels, hardware, millwork, and terrazzo flooring.
  • 60 percent of furniture and supplies were reused. To further avoid landfill, USGBC offered furniture to staff, donated items, and sold items at auction.
  • Multiple offices were kept in place and intact, reducing demolition waste.

“Keeping materials out of landfills was a top priority that was achieved through careful planning, targeted demolition and innovative reuse,” said Melanie Mayo-Rodgers, Director, Facilities, USGBC. “We succeeded in reducing not only waste but also our project costs and environmental footprint.”

A Hybrid Workspace

The new headquarters office is being used as a hybrid workspace, accommodating staff needs for in-person work and meetings on a rotating schedule. The office is designed to be more inclusive, adaptive, collaborative, and configurable for staff needs. The space also features dedicated rooms for wellness activities and focused work, as well as a podcast recording studio.

The design honors the legacy of USGBC while looking ahead to the future. The triple certification demonstrates that environmental sustainability and occupant health go hand in hand.

LEED certification provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings, offering environmental, social, and governance benefits. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement, and it is backed by an entire industry of committed organizations and individuals paving the way for market transformation.

TRUE certification is dedicated to measuring, improving, and recognizing zero waste performance, measuring a tangible impact on our environment and community. The USGBC space saw a robust waste diversion rate of 94.3 percent.

Definition of WELL

WELL certification measures the impact of human health and well-being through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. The International Well Building Institute (IWBI) administers WELL and is a longtime USGBC partner. The USGBC space creates a healthier environment that improves physical and mental well-being and helps showcase the approach to wellness and the employee experience.

The success of this project is due in large part to the talented project team led by Perkins&Will (design and project management) and including SK&A (structural engineering), JLL (owner’s representative), GHT Limited (MEP engineering), Advanced Building Performance, Inc. (commissioning agent), Hotbed Technology (audio visual), Newmark (lease negotiation), and HITT Contracting (general contractor). JBG Smith (landlord and building owner) was an integral partner in this project whose support and commitment to sustainability enabled USGBC to achieve these top-level certifications.

To experience the new USGBC headquarters virtually visit the online tour and view the project’s scorecards.