Genzyme Center Wins USGBC LEED Platinum

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff September 9, 2005

The world headquarters building of Genzyme Corp., Cambridge, Mass., has received the highest rating possible—platinum—under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.

GenzymeCenter is the largest corporate office building to earn the platinum certification and one of only 13 buildings to date to receive this rating. More than 2,100 building projects have been registered for certification since the LEED rating system was created five years ago, and approximately 260 buildings have earned one of four certification levels—platinum, gold, silver and certified.

The center earned 52 points by meeting or exceeding rigorous standards in five broad categories: sustainable site development, water savings, energy and atmosphere, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

The 12-story, 350,000-sq.-ft. building is a center for biomedical research and development. Situated on the former site of an industrial plant, it is helping to transform a polluted brownfield into a vital urban community.

A glass exterior and soaring central atrium allow natural light to flood the interior of the center, significantly reducing the need for artificial light. Daylight is distributed within the building through a natural-light-enhancement system. On the roof, sophisticated mirrors called heliostats track the path of the sun and help direct light inside. A chandelier made of prismatic tiles casts sunlight entering the atrium into the surrounding workspaces.

In addition, reflective panels, a “light wall” made of polished aluminum strips and the surface of a reflecting pool further enhance the flow of light. Along the glass exterior, computer-controlled blinds automatically track the sun’s position and open to desired angles to let light in while deflecting heat and glare.

Genzyme Center’s energy efficiency results from the building’s extensive use of natural light, concrete construction, the use of waste steam from a nearby power plant for cooling and heating, and an insulating second layer of glass covering one-third of the exterior. The installation of highly efficient plumbing is helping to reduce water usage.

A virtual tour of GenzymeCenter, photos and other materials are available on Genzyme’s Web site: