The Look of LEED-Platinum

The Look of LEED-Platinum

The U.S. Green Building Council's new headquarters in Washington, D.C., Citi's new data center in Frankfurt, Germany, and now the new data center for the education services company ACT offer striking images of what it takes to achieve the highest LEED rating for a green building.

Having outgrown its old digs, the USGBC took the opportunity to craft its new headquarters to meet the design standards of LEED 2009 and was the first project to be certified under the updated USGBC rating system.

An eco-corridor at USGBC headquarters. By Eric Laignel


The 75,000-square-foot office that occupies two stories of 2101 L. St., NW, in Washington, D.C., attained 94 points of the 110 points possible in the Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design rating system. The threshold for Platinum certification is 80 points.

That level of certification calls for sharp reductions in energy and water use when compared to traditional structures of similar size, aggressive resource and waste management and a strong educational component for building occupants and visitors.

A brightly colored lounge and break area. By Eric Laignel


The new USGBC headquarters has goals of cutting water use by 40 percent and energy use by more than 50 percent.

Floor-to-ceiling windows contribute to energy efficiency as does a 6-foot-wide eco-corridor of open floorspace between the windows and workstations to maximize daylighting while eliminating the challenge of heating and cooling areas that are flush to the glass.

Salvaged wood lines accent walls. By Eric Laignel


Bright, multicolored spaces prevail throughout the office in lounges, meeting rooms and public areas, some of which are decorated with 500-year-old gumwood salvaged from the Tennessee River bottom. More details about the new office and the team that designed it are available from the USGBC (PDF).

Certified this spring as the first data center in the world to earn a LEED-Platinum rating, Citi's 230,000-square-foot data center is replete with energy- and resource-efficient elements — as is the building it occupies.

The Citi Data Center in Frankfurt, Germany. Image courtesy of Citi.


The site is expected to use 41 percent less potable water than a comparably sized facility of the same type and 30 percent less energy than a conventional data center.

Outside, form and function are combined in many of the building features. In addition to a green roof that covers 72 percent of the area atop the building, the facility has a living wall as well as garden zones throughout the site.

The living wall at the Citi Data Center. Image courtesy of Citi.


ACT, the nonprofit that established the American College Testing Program in 1959, offered a rare look inside a data center in announcing its LEED-Platinum certification this week.

The facility is the first data center in the U.S. to earn a LEED-Platinum rating.

The 8,000-square-foot ACT operations center with its 4,000-square-foot raised floor data center is located across town from the organization's headquarters in Iowa City, Iowa.

ACT data center cabling. Courtesy of KJWW Engineering Consultants


A key feature of the site is a geothermal system that helps cool the data center.

Images made available by ACT and KJWW Engineering Consultants show that a complex facility can also be colorful.

An ACT backup generator.  Courtesy of KJWW Engineering Consultants


In Sacramento, Calif., the 230,000-square-foot Advanced Data Centers facility at McClellan Business Park is edging toward completion and was pre-certified at the LEED-Platinum level last summer.

The ADC McClellan Data Center. Courtesy of Advanced Data Centers


The site is part of the former McClellan Air Force Base.

The schematic below of ADC's project provides a seldom-seen glimpse of a data center set-up. A virtual tour of the facility is available on the company's website. The final phase of the project's certification review will begin when the facility is complete.

Courtesy of Advanced Data Centers



USGBC's New Headquarters Rendering Courtesy of Vornado Realty Trust via USGBC
All USGBC Interior Photos by Eric Laignel via USGBC
Citi's Data Center and Living Wall Photos Courtesy of Citi
ACT Data Center Photos Courtesy of KJWW Engineering Consultants
ADC McClellan Park Data Center Images Courtesy of Advanced Data Centers


{related_content}