Sustainability Spotlight: U.S. Treasury Earns LEED Gold
If there was ever a color you would associate with the Treasury Department, it certainly would be green – and now that color is appropriate in more ways than one. The U.S. Treasury Building – a National Historic Landmark built in the 19th century and more than two city blocks long – was awarded LEED Gold certification. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, it’s the oldest building in the world to receive LEED certification.
To achieve LEED Gold, Treasury officials said the department spent about $700,000 on LEED-related improvements, including the installation of low-flow faucets, waterless urinals, lighting sensors and high-efficiency water heaters. In addition, construction and operational changes were made, including increasing use of natural day lighting, HVAC system upgrades, sustainable cleaning and landscape programs, recycling and material conservations audits, and establishing a green procurement programs for materials, equipment, and systems. Space was also optimized to enable the addition of 164 workstations in the building, which offset the cost of leasing office space elsewhere.
These improvements are paying off for both the environment and the bottom line – showing that going green also saves green for taxpayers. Project results, which are producing an estimated $3.5 million in energy and lease cost savings annually, include a 43 percent decrease in the use of potable water, a 7 percent decrease in electrical usage, and a 53 percent decrease in the use of steam.
The Treasury Building was constructed over a period of 33 years between 1836 and 1869. It’s the third-oldest federal building in Washington D.C., after the White House and the U.S. Capitol, and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1972. This certification adds more than eight billion square feet of green building space to the USGBC registry.