GreenShape proudly celebrated the achievement of LEED NC Gold Certification in May 2011 for the Mary M. Gates Learning Center at the United Way Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. United Way’s mission is to “improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.” The organization promotes social, cultural and economic development, and recognizes that environmental health significantly contributes to its objectives. The Mary M. Gates Learning Center is a complete renovation of a 35,000 s.f. existing training center which employs the following sustainability strategies and technologies:
- Sustainable Sites
The project minimized urban heat island effect by placing 90% of the building’s parking underground and by using a white roofing membrane. The building’s interior and exterior lighting was designed to create minimal spillage to the night sky.
- Water Efficiency
The Learning Center was designed to use 41.7% less water than a code compliant baseline, saving over 26,000 gallons of potable water per year through use of ultra-low flow urinals, dual-flush water closets, ultra low-flow lavatories and low-flow pantry sinks.
- Energy & Atmosphere
Energy-efficient lighting fixtures save 19% of energy typically used for lighting and a solar hot water heating system preheats domestic hot water. Overall, the project uses 25.2% less energy as compared to a conventional building designed to ASHRAE 90.1-2004 standards.
- Materials & Resources
In an effort to conserve natural resources, recycled content products comprised 18.6% of the construction materials by cost. 89% of the wood used for construction was Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, supporting responsible forest management.
- Indoor Environmental Quality
Learning Center classroom windows frame expansive views of the Potomac River and an atrium allows daylight to enter the Learning Center on both levels. Each classroom includes adjustable thermostats and task lighting allow for occupant comfort control. Humidity sensors are provided in densely occupied spaces and low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) materials protect building occupants from potentially harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde. The use of environmentally preferable cleaning products and practices improve air quality and health of building occupants and cleaning staff.
Designed with significant ecological consideration, the Learning Center provides a space for facilitating knowledge-sharing, improving communication, and enhancing leadership at United Way Worldwide. The GreenShape team was honored to support the Mary M. Gates Learning Center project team in creating this exemplary sustainable learning environment.