ELPC’s New Green Office Awarded LEED Platinum in Historic Landmark Building
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Chicago – The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) announced today that its office has been awarded LEED Platinum certification established by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute for its office. ELPC’s office is located in the “Old Jewelers Building,” a Historic Landmark in downtown Chicago. Platinum is the highest certification possible through LEED, the USGBC’s leading rating system for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
ELPC has the first LEED Platinum office in a Historic Landmark building in Chicago, creating a model they hope others will follow. “We’ve transformed space in a historic building into a cutting-edge green modern office with high environmental performance that makes economic sense.” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of ELPC. “With smart design, this downtown office space saves money with state-of-the-art energy efficiency technology, uses local, recycled materials, reduces waste and is an attractive, great place to work.”
“ELPC is showcasing modern green office design and technologies that can easily be replicated by businesses, law and consulting firms, governmental agencies and other conventional downtown office tenants in ways that are good for the environment, good for employee productivity and good for the bottom line,” said Learner. “By demonstrating how this can be done, ELPC is inspiring others, advancing policy and moving the market forward so that what’s cutting edge today will be commonplace tomorrow.”
ELPC’s new office preserves the building’s historic façade while maximizing the green features of the interior. Photo sensors control the LED and fluorescent lighting system to cut energy use in half, and maximize “daylighting” as interior windows and frosted glass spread natural light throughout the office. Electrical outlets, heating and cooling are all controlled with state-of the-art occupancy sensors that monitor CO2 to use power only where it’s needed, dramatically cutting utility bills and avoiding pollution.
During construction, ELPC diverted more than 75% of waste from landfills and used locally sourced, recycled and recyclable materials. Natural surfaces and finishes without toxic chemicals and VOCs improve the office’s air quality. A private shower encourages employees to bike to work, and solar panels on the building’s façade will directly supply the office with clean energy.
ELPC opened its first green office more than a decade ago and combined that example with advocacy to promote green building and enact green building policies in Illinois and around the region. The new green office is the latest effort by ELPC to create environmental progress and economic development together.
By employing innovative technology and forward-thinking design, the office creates a new green space in an old building. It’s a valuable example because in coming years the vast majority of building will occur as renovations of existing space, rather than new construction. “The real success of this project will come five years down the road when other offices around the region have followed this example,” said Learner.
“Building operations are nearly 40% of the solution to the global climate change challenge,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “While climate change is a global problem, innovative organizations like the Environmental Law & Policy Center are addressing it through local solutions.”