Fed’s Grab LEED Gold For Big Office Complex

More than 6,400 U.S. Department of Defense employees formerly working out of commercially leased office spaces in and around Washington, D.C., have a new, LEED-certified home in a new complex at the Mark Center in Alexandria, Va. The department’s Washington Headquarters Office Complex recently garnered green certification at the Gold level from the U.S. Green Building Council, in accordance with the General Service Administration’s recent mandate.

The complex, constructed at a cost of $1.03 billion and overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers, is one of the federal government’s largest projects to reach this level of certification. Its green features include a high efficiency central chiller plant that makes use of green refrigerants, demand-controlled (rather than automatic) ventilation, energy efficient lighting (including LED fixtures and occupancy sensors that turn lights off when a room is unoccupied) and a dedicated outdoor air system with energy recovery mechanisms.

Department of Defense complex, Alexandria

image via U.S. Department of Defense

The complex also features green roofs on the Visitor Center and Remote Inspection Facility, bioswales in the surrounding landscape that filter storm water runoff and green screens with native plants surrounding the north parking garage. During construction, more than 90 percent of waste materials were recycled, preventing around 6 million pounds of waste from entering local landfills.

As far as power goes, the complex has purchased 54 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy, which is expected to reduce its fossil fuel consumption by 40 percent for the next four years, preventing 60.5 million pounds of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere.

All told, the complex’s green systems result in a building that has been documented as using 30 percent less energy than a traditional building and 45 percent less water.

The Corps’ general contractor for the project was Duke Realty, the prime construction contractor was Clark Construction Group and the lead design contractor was HKS.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.