Hearst Tower in NYC, Perkins+Will in Atlanta earn top LEED ratings

Hearst Tower in NYC, Perkins+Will in Atlanta earn top LEED ratings

The Hearst Corporation's striking addition to the New York skyline and Perkins+Will's office on Atlanta's historic main street have earned LEED-Platinum certification, the high level of recognition awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Executives for the companies announced their green building achievements this week. For the Hearst Corporation, news of LEED-Platinum certification comes as the company marks its 125th year in business.

For design firm Perkins+Will, whose building also houses the Museum of Design of Atlanta and a branch of the public library, the certification recognizes not only the firm's green building efforts but also its work to promote community and sustainability in Atlanta for a third of a century.

Hearst Tower

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and Hearst Tower was certified at the LEED-Gold level (the second highest of four designations) as a newly constructed building soon after its completion in 2006. Its new certification, based on LEED standards for the maintenance and operation of existing buildings, is an indication of how well the building is performing and whether it is meeting its design expectations.

Here some stats that support the platinum rating:

  • Energy efficiency measures built into the structure, plus regular monitoring of those systems have reduced energy consumption by 40 percent. In turn, that places the property among the top 10 percent of commercial office buildings that are working to rein in energy use.
  • The building uses 30 percent less water a year compared to comparable structures. That's the result of low-flow fixtures, water conservation and a rainwater harvesting system that uses non-potable water to clean sidewalks and other outdoor "hardscapes."
  • The building and its occupants divert 82 percent of the material that would otherwise go to landfill through aggressive recycling and waste management programs. It's the first office building in New York City to set up a program to channel 100 percent of wetfood waste to composting.

More information on Hearst Tower is available here

The Perkins+Will Building in Atlanta

Earning its certification with a score of 95 of a possible 100 baseline points, the Perkins+Will office in Atlanta now claims bragging rights as the top-scoring new construction LEED project in the Northern Hemisphere.

The firm, which has had an office on Atlanta's main thoroughfare for more than 33 years, bought the 1985 building at 1315 Peachtree Street in 2009 and renovated it so extensively that qualified for LEED consideration as new construction.

There's a picture of the building, above, and another, below, of a conference room.

USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi  lauded the retrofitting and repurposing of the building so it accommodates the design firm and two organizations that serve the public. "Perkins+Will has designed a showpiece building," Fedrizzi said in a statement. "1315 Peachtree Street exemplifies the kind of environmentally sustainable measures that can be taken during a building retrofit."

Design elements and efficiencies built into the property cut energy consumption by 58 percent and slash use of municipally supplied potable water by 78 percent. The building features:

  • A rooftop trigeneration system that includes microturbines and an adsorption chiller. Designers estimate that the building's carbon footprint is reduced by 68 percent by producing electricity with natural gas.
  • Daylight harvesting, exterior sun shading, lighting controls, efficient fixtures and operations systems that reduce energy use for cooling and illumination.
  • A 10,000-gallon cistern to capture rainwater. The water is used to irrigate landscape iand in low-flow urinals and toilets after first being filtered and treated.
  • Work and meeting areas that promote collaboration and efficient use of space.
  • More pictures of Perkins+Will's Atlanta office are available here

Office Depot's LEED-Certified Distribution Center

Office Depot, which has a robust green building program for stores built from scratch and others it moves into, is working to make its other facilities more environmentally responsible. That includes a 600,000-square-foot distribution center in Newville, Pa., which recently received LEED certification.

The site is second in size only to Office Depot's headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. That 624,000-square-foot property earned LEED-Gold certification as an existing building in 2010.

The company has been praised by the USGBC as a green building leader and is among the retailers that "volume certify" stores to LEED standards. The process expedites the certification review for projects that are built according to pre-approved green designs. Office Depot's first newly constructed store to earn LEED-Gold certification opened in 2008. Thirty-two of its stores have been been registered as LEED commercial interior projects under the USGBC volume certification program, and 15 of those stores have achieved certification so far.


UCLA Library Renovation

Perkins+Will recently completed a renovation project at the Charles E. Young Research Library at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is hoping to score another strong LEED rating with that work.

The project involved the primary library for graduate students and faculty in humanities and social sciences -- a structure whose main component was built in 1964. There's a picture of the library to the right and more information about its renovation is available here.

Other Green Building Standouts

Other buildings that recently earned LEED recognition include:

  • The Grocon Company's Pixel Building, Australia first carbon-neutral office building, earned LEED-Platinum certification from the USGBC. It also has received a perfect 100-point score from the Green Building Council of Australia.
  • The Xcel Energy building in Denver, Colo., also earned LEED-Platinum certification.

Photo of Hearst Tower CC licensed by OptimumPx via Wikimedia Commons. Photos of 1315 Peachtree Street by Eduard Hueber and of the Charles E. Young UCLA library courtesy of Perkins+Will. Photo of distribution center courtesy of Office Depot.