U.S. Green Building Council Headquarters

Light shelf bio-corridor. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionElevator hallway and front desk. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionWaterwall. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionWoodwork. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionWaterwall and stairway. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionPhoto credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionPhoto credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionPhoto credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionPhoto credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionUSGBC Headquarters inside the SIEU building. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ Envision

Opened in February, 2007, the U.S Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED Platinum Headquarters is a showcase of “green” design and sustainable building practices. It had better be. As the organization that advises builders on sustainability practices and certifies these projects according to a certification rating system (LEED), the USGBC exemplifies in its Headquarters the standards that it promotes. Serving as the Commissioning Authority, ABP assisted in the design charrettes and reviews by introducing new energy efficiency designs.

$2 Million Interior Buildout– 22,000 sf office

Architect: Perkins+Will/ Envision
MEP Engineer: Stantec
General Contractor: James G. Davis Construction Co.

Address: 2101 L St NW, Washington, DC 20037
Completion Date: Early 2007

Light shelf bio-corridor. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionElevator hallway and front desk. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionWaterwall. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ Envision
Woodwork. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionWaterwall and stairway. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionPhoto credit: Eric Laignel/ Envision
Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionPhoto credit: Eric Laignel/ EnvisionPhoto credit: Eric Laignel/ Envision
USGBC Headquarters inside the SIEU building. Photo credit: Eric Laignel/ Envision


Located inside an existing LEED Gold office building (Service Industry Employee Union) complete with a vegetated “green” roof, the floor that houses the USGBC office boasts a Platinum rating for its interior. Inside the main office, floor-to-ceiling windows line the light shelf Bio-Corridor where, through the extensive use of glass doors, light-colored, partially-recycled carpeting and light-colored workstation divider walls, natural daylight reaches 90% of the entire office.  An automated, sensor-activated window shade system regulates light intake. Occupancy sensors and daylight sensors control light fixtures in all public and private spaces, reducing energy consumption. Perimeter fan coil units provide individual temperature control within the predominantly open layout.

A showpiece two-story, biophilic, chilled “water wall” adds a natural beauty to the office while also conditioning the office air quality. Sweetgum wood salvaged from the bottom of the Tennessee River where it sank during logging operations in the 1800s was used in the foyer of the USGBC office. Recycled marble from the previous tenant’s reception area was used for the USGBC reception desk. Recycled and regionally produced gypsum board is used for paneling throughout the office. Aluminum ceiling tiles consisting of 90% recycled content were also utilized. The office kitchen contains countertops made of recycled glass and cement. The location of the USGBC Headquarters near the Metro line in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in Washington D.C. allows USGBC employees to easily commute to work by public transportation, bike or by foot. To promote walking and biking commutes, the Headquarters provides shower rooms for employees. The shower facility, restrooms and kitchen save on water usage by using solar-powered low-flow aerator faucets, low-flow showerheads, low-energy high-speed hand dryers (80% more energy-efficient than average hand dryers), waterless urinals, and dual-flush toilets.

A digital Performance Dashboard monitors real-time energy savings and outlines LEED features. This, together with the features mentioned above, along with many more sustainable design elements, is presented during educational tours that the Headquarters offers to groups. For a detailed virtual tour complete with audio, photos, technical and vendor information and CGI modeling, click here.

Sustainability Features:

  • Use of 30%-recycled furniture and building materials
  • Location offers many commuting options
  • Located in an existing LEED Gold building
  • Uses natural light from the Bio-corridor light shelf
  • Adjustable workstation units with repositionable divider walls covered with a Greenguard certified laminate
  • Low-temperature variable-air-volume diffusers help improve air quality
  • Low-flow faucets and waterless urinals reduce water usage
  • Sub-meters monitor energy usage (HVAC usage, plug loads, occupancy and lighting power density) throughout the office
  • Energy Star appliances in the office kitchen
  • Indoor air quality monitoring provides information to guide maintenance of the mechanical systems


Date posted: April 12, 2012

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