New EPA Facility Goes Green, Wins Gold

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff August 10, 2006

More than 1,600 employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are moving into two “green” buildings chock full of state-of-the-science technologies that reflect the agency’s core mission: to protect human health and the environment. Putting action where its philosophy is, during the planning stages, EPA insisted on numerous innovations—large and small—that distinguish the Arlington, Va. buildings as among the greenest of the green.

Already the effort is paying off. The buildings have received the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification.

“At EPA, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “For over 35 years, EPA has been greening our nation’s landscape. By committing to renewable energy and water efficiency, the agency is meeting President Bush’s call to green our nation’s building practices.”

The 650,000-sq.-ft. facility features two connecting towers with Energy Star-rated rooftops, which reduce cooling demand for the building. Employees enjoy natural daylight in their workspaces, while Energy Star lighting fixtures and appliances, automatic daylight dimming and occupancy sensors help reduce energy usage.

To offset 100% of the emissions associated with the facility’s annual electricity consumption, EPA procured 4.2 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy certificates that support wind power generated in Nebraska, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Wyoming.

EPA has always made a commitment to saving water in these facilities, evident in restrooms that feature high-efficiency faucets and dual-flush toilets and urinals.

Regional and drought-resistant landscaping eliminates the need for irrigation systems, and on-site sand filters treat storm-water runoff to reduce contamination of the nearby Potomac River. Between the two towers, a small green roof also helps minimize storm-water runoff, while also providing a pleasant outdoor space. Recycled-content furniture is placed on the roof and throughout the facility.

Comprised of office, retail, and public space on 2.9 acres, the new facility was developed by Crescent Resources, LLC, in partnership with EPA and the U.S. General Services Administration. EPA will lease more than 400,000 sq. ft. of the facility for 10 years to house elements of its Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response and the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. In addition to LEED Gold certification, facility managers also anticipate receiving the Energy Star building label within the next year.

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