ASHRAE has always prided itself on providing the gold standard in research, standards writing, publishing, and continuing education. However, when it came to energy efficiency and sustainability, gold just wasn’t good enough. That’s why the ASHRAE Headquarters has gone a step further and has been awarded a LEED Platinum Certification in the New Construction 2.2 rating system.
The Society’s office building in Atlanta, GA, which underwent a major renovation in 2008, is one of only six buildings in the state of Georgia to receive a LEED Platinum rating, the highest certification the program offers. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a program of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit which seeks to promote green building practices.
“While our first objective was to provide a healthy, comfortable, and productive environment for our staff, we also wanted to set an example of what can be done to renovate existing buildings,” ASHRAE President Gordon Holness said. “Given that 75% to 80% of all existing buildings will still be around in 2030, our greatest opportunity for a sustainable future is through the upgrade and retrofit of these buildings. It is extremely gratifying to achieve the USGBC’s highest rating and confirm ASHRAE’s leadership and commitment to supporting a sustainable built environment.”
LEED takes into account five key measurements when evaluating new construction: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Bonus points may be obtained through innovation in design and regional priority.
In order to qualify for the highly sought-after Platinum certification, ASHRAE took into consideration a number of concerns such as energy use, heat island reduction, water efficient landscaping, material reuse and water use reduction, to name just few.
ASHRAE addressed these issues, among others, by installing a cool, white reflective roof membrane to minimize heat island effects; updating the landscaping and eliminating the need for landscaping irrigation; retaining more than 75% of the existing building structure as part of this renovation; and reducing its estimated overall annual water consumption per year by almost 50% by using low-flow fixtures throughout building. Additionally, the ASHRAE headquarters received bonus points for innovation and design.
As a leader in energy efficient technology, ASHRAE viewed its headquarters renovation as the perfect way to “walk the talk.” The 34,500 square foot office building, built originally in 1965, now acts as a showcase of energy efficiency and sustainability through its living lab—which provides recourses on building, system and equipment performance—and learning center.