Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Changing Face of Green Buildings: Iconic Treasury Building Earns LEED Gold

Lane Burt
Technical Policy Director
U.S. Green Building Council

One of America’s most iconic buildings earned LEED for Existing Buildings yesterday. By improving their operations, the Department of Treasury’s headquarters next to the White house has slashed energy, steam and water consumption to save taxpayers $3.5 million per year. The oldest LEED building ever certified also increased their office density by 164 units, which equals big savings in avoided new office space.

This is a moment to step back and applaud what has been done. Because the project certified under Existing Buildings, the certification was based on actual energy, water and steam consumption (bills) and not a projection.

This $3.5 million dollars is real money that the Treasury is keeping in the treasury.

Source: Clifford's Photography
The announcement is even more monumental in the context of the green building movement and the evolution of these industries. The building world is changing. Treasury follows the path of another icon, the Empire State Building (LEED EB:O&M Gold) and comes only weeks after the announcement that the square footage of LEED for Existing Buildings – certified for actual performance – has surpassed New Construction.

Despite little minds in Congress and worse in some state mansions, this movement is winning. Not only are new buildings becoming greener and more efficient, saving money for nearly centuries, but our architects, engineers, designers, contractors and manufacturers are working on the buildings we already have. Nothing could be greener.

3 comments:

  1. Great news! Do you happen to know what their square footage per employee is with the new floor plans?

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  2. No mention MrB of the cost of the project and #years for payback...Is this another subsidized Federal fantasy boondoggle like the Volt or Solyndra or a cost effective "green" step forward...Hope it's the latter but you should have included the cost/payback in your article...which makes me fear it's the former...

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