The movement for healthier, high-performing buildings has reached a new milestone, as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) issued the 20,000th LEED certification for a commercial project.
In December 2013, USGBC’s Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) certified the offices and staff services space in the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) plant in Knoxville, Tenn., under LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI).
“The 20,000th LEED certification belongs to an organization that shares our social and environmental values, and we applaud GMCR on its accomplishment,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. "This is an important milestone in our mission to drive market transformation in the built environment to practices that make healthy, high-performing buildings a fact of life.
"We've shown that LEED works, and the companies and organizations that use LEED set a high bar for leadership," he continued. "But there is much work to be done, and even as we mark this milestone, we're completing the launch of the next version of the rating system that will drive building performance to the next level."
The Knoxville plant is the seventh LEED-certified facility for GMCR, based in Waterbury, Vt. Focusing on maintaining a resilient supply chain, offering sustainable products and contributing positively to the communities in which it operates, GMCR has made corporate social responsibility a central tenet of its business model. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, it was the world’s largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee, and it allocates a portion of its pre-tax profits to socially and environmentally responsible initiatives. In June 2013 Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships named GMCR a Northeast Business Leader for Energy Efficiency.
Sustainable features of the Knoxville project include a high-efficiency HVAC system and water-efficient plumbing fixtures that result in a 32 percent reduction in water use. Recycled content totals more than 24 percent of all building materials, work stations and seating, while a quarter of all building materials were harvested or manufactured within 500 miles of the project. The project also features high efficiency lighting fixtures, daylighting and lighting controls, and renewable power sources generate more than 50 percent of the required power.
“One of our company goals is to transform the way the world understands business,” said Jason King, senior director of facilities and engineering at GMCR. “The passion we bring to creating great coffee is the same passion we put toward energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. We are proud to play a part in the green building movement because it closely aligns with our corporate values.”
As the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system, LEED guides the design, construction and operation of 10.5 billion square feet of commercial and institutional space globally. By using less energy, LEED-certified spaces save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.
In November 2013, USGBC launched LEED v4, the newest version of the rating system that is poised to raise the bar for the entire green building industry, which McGraw-Hill Construction projects could be worth up to $248 billion in the U.S. by 2016. LEED v4 features increased technical rigor; a more intuitive online technology platform and simplified LEED credit submittal requirements; as well as new market sector adaptations for data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail and mid-rise residential projects.