Just what is the greenest green building in the sylvan expanses of Pennsylvania? According to Vertical Screen, its new, state-of-the-art world headquarters building on a former brownfield site in Warminster, Pa., takes the cake, coming in with a LEED Platinum score of 58 points, not to mention the seventh-highest LEED score for a newly constructed office building in the United States (and ninth highest in the world).
This 50,000 square foot building — located on nine acres once occupied by the Johnsville Naval Air Warfare Center — features (as you might imagine) a grocery list of green features, including a geothermal HVAC system, which makes use of 64 closed ground-loop wells installed at a depth of 500 feet to utilize the Earth’s mean temperature to heat and cool the building, and a roof-mounted solar photovoltaic array. Comprised of 900 panels (each containing 40 cylindrical modules), this system generates 163 kilowatts of power, or around 20 percent of the building’s total electricity needs.
A rainwater harvesting system collects15,000 gallons from the roof in an underground storage tank, filters it and uses it to flush toilets, as well as to irrigate four interior green roofs and a living wall. Forty-foot-high glass curtain walls on the east and west sides of the building and a 10-foot-high glass south wall ensure abundant access to daylight; a Building Automation System dims and/or turns on and off lights and controls an automated shading system based upon the amount of available daylight. The building also features a super-insulated tight envelope, recycled/renewable materials, and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood throughout.
During its first six months in operation, the new Vertical Screen world headquarters building has used more than 60 percent less energy and more than 70 percent less municipal water than a similar-sized traditional office building, leading Erdy McHenry Architecture LLC Principal Scott Erdy, whose firm designed the Vertical Screen headquarters building, to deem it “a new paradigm for corporate office space,” in a statement.