ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The U.S. Green Building Council has certified the $1.03 billion Washington Headquarters Office Complex at the Mark Center in Alexandria, Va., as LEED Gold following the vetting of the completed project’s sustainability features -- making it one of the federal government’s largest projects to reach the coveted certification. The Army Corps of Engineers, New York district, managed the construction of the facility, which was designed to consolidate more than 6,400 DoD employees working out of commercially leased office spaces in and around Washington D.C.
The project included building two office towers, one 15 stories and one 17 stories, two parking structures with room for more than 3,700 cars, a visitor center, an area for shuttles and buses, a remote inspection facility and a remote delivery facility.
“It’s truly an accomplishment that the Corps of Engineers and our partners were able to earn LEED Gold on this important BRAC project,” said New York District Commander Col. John R. Boulé. “This project was a massive undertaking, even by Corps of Engineers’ standards, and had to be delivered on a tight timeline. But the team was able to deliver the complex under budget and ahead of schedule while deliberately incorporating significant sustainability features to earn this prestigious environmental ranking.”
The LEED Gold certification was a result of sustainable construction practices as well as incorporating green features into the final product.
During construction, more than 90 percent of construction waste was recycled, preventing approximately 6 million pounds of waste from going to landfills.
The building itself will use 30 percent less energy that a traditional building due to a high efficiency central chiller plant using green refrigerants, demand controlled (rather than automatic) ventilation, energy efficient lighting including LED fixtures and occupancy sensors that turn lights off when a room is empty and a dedicated outdoor air system with energy recovery mechanisms. The project also purchased 54 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 40 percent for the next four years. This represents a reduction of 60.5 million pounds of CO2 emissions.
The complex is also designed for a 45 percent reduction in water use, which should ultimately lead to an annual reduction of 4.5 million gallons. This was accomplished through low flow faucets, shower heads and other plumbing fixtures, use of native, drought resistant plants on the grounds requiring zero irrigation and storm water designs that focus on both the quantity and quality of the water.
Several visible green elements were also incorporated into the complex, including green roof designs on the Visitor Center and Remote Inspection Facility to reduce radiant heat, bio-swale for natural filtering of storm water runoff and green screens with native plants surrounding the north parking garage.
The project was a result of recommendation 133 of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s 2005 report, hence the name BRAC 133. The Corps’ general contractor for the project was Duke Realty headquartered in Indianapolis with offices in Alexandria, the prime construction contractor was Clark Construction Group, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and the lead design contractor was HKS Inc., of Dallas, Texas.