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Rosslyn Building Could Earn LEED Platinum Certification

by Katie Pyzyk — May 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm 1,193 56 Comments

A building under construction in Rosslyn could earn the first LEED Platinum certification in Arlington.

International developer and construction company Skanska is working on the five story building at 1776 Wilson Blvd, which will contain both retail and office space.

To earn LEED certification, a developer must earn credits in six categories called Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation in Design & Regionalization. The rating system has a total of 110 points, and 80 are necessary to receive platinum certification.

Some of the green features included in the new building are ultra-efficient plumbing fixtures that offer a 40 percent reduction in the typical amount of water used, and water efficient landscaping that doesn’t require a regular irrigation system. Solar panels will be part of the effort to reduce the building’s annual energy costs by 24 percent, and high performance glass will prevent heat gain in the building.

There will also be a green roof terrace on the fourth floor. The garage will feature preferred parking for fuel efficient vehicles, and will be outfitted with power outlets to accommodate electric cars.

The building is scheduled to be mostly completed by August, and the hope is that tenants can move in this fall. Already, the building is 50 percent pre-leased.

  • Mary-Austin

    Why are five story new construction buildings going up in Rosslyn? Doesn’t seem very sustainable from a planning perspective.

    • Clarendon

      It’s not really Rosslyn. It’s the Rosslyn-Courthouse In-Between Area. There was a special urban design public forum around 2003 that resulted in design guidlines for this area

      • SoMuchForSubtlety

        It is actually in Rosslyn. Rhodes St. is the border. Its just not in “downtown” Rosslyn.

    • Justin

      There is a 35 story, all glass new construction building currently under construction near the Rosslyn metro. It will be the tallest building in Rosslyn by far. It’s also on track for LEED Platinum certification.

  • CD

    Only LEED Platinum guarantees that a building will be energy efficient.

    • drax

      No, but it certifies that it has the efficiency that requires a LEED platinum certification.

      Is there nobody here who understands how this stuff works?

      • CD

        Too bad you weren’t at last night’s Planning Commission meeting. County Planning Staff wants TWO LEED Gold certifications. One without bonus density to the developer does not guarantee energy efficiency, the other with bonus density to the developer does. Item 1 on the Planning Commission’s agenda.

        • drax

          Um, how does that relate?

          • Duh

            Duh, how did we get a building efficiency rating system whereby a building can be energy inefficient and still be rated “Gold”

          • Josh S

            Because the categories that go into LEED certification include things beyond simply energy efficiency.

            As the story above indicates.

          • Keith

            Non-responsive answer.

          • Josh S

            Just stop and think a bit longer.

          • drax

            It was a perfect, total, completely comprehensive answer, Keith.

          • Keith

            You first.

          • Clarendon

            It was a responsive answer, but may not be comprehensive.

          • drax

            How do you know it is energy inefficient?

            In any event, your question has been answered. Environmentalism is about far more than just energy. Just FYI.

        • Observer

          Good for the PC. The members, actual planning professionals, get it about LEED, while the county board does not.

      • John Fontain

        “it certifies that it has the efficiency that requires a LEED platinum certification.”

        You misunderstand the basic premise of LEED. There is no measurement of (and therefore no certification of) energy efficiency.

        “Is there nobody here who understands how this stuff works?”

        Yes, apparently you don’t.

        • Josh S

          Well, if the certification requires that you use this appliance and not that one, and this appliance has been measured to use less electricity than that one, it’s sort of assumed, I guess. (A simplification, of course.)

          Yes, no post-construction measurement of actual energy use. The certification is based on a model universe. Granted.

          • drax

            The certification for new construction does include up to 19 points for overall reduction of energy use, as compared to a baseline, which is intended “to achieve increasing levels of energy performance beyond the prerequisite standard to reduce environmental and
            economic impacts associated with excessive energy use.”

            -from page 39 in the doc I linked.

          • CD

            You can put up a tent and if you do the right things to the site the tent is on, put EnergyStar appliances in the tent, and earn other other LEED points that have nothing to do with energy efficiency, the tent will receive a LEED Silver rating.

          • Josh S

            You can?

        • drax

          “There is no measurement of (and therefore no certification of) energy efficiency.”

          Reduction of energy use is a substantial part of the LEED requirements. Where did you get the idea that it’s not?

          Here, look it up yourself:

          http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=8868

          • CD

            LEED has been gamed by developers in this County for over a decade. You get the same points for stuff like drought-resistant plants around the building as you do for energy efficiency inside the building. With LEED Platinum there is no low hanging fruit to pick. The County is full of energy-inefficient LEED Silver and Gold buildings.

          • drax

            As mentioned, energy efficiency isn’t the only environmental concern. The problem, as you note, is that it’s hard to equate the different concerns. Assigning them the same point value is simplistic. But LEED isn’t supposed to be just about energy use.

          • Josh S

            How do you know? Also, define “energy-inefficient.”

            And, as far as drought-resistant plants versus energy efficiency – so what? What’s your point?

          • CD

            Energy Inefficient? Try W-L High School. Starting with the 20 and 30 foot ceilings and the acres of windows. LEED certified.

            It gets worse. Some of the LEED criteria are Gimmes. Like using local materials (concrete from the local concrete plant), using low-emissions materials (litigation has taken high-emissions materials like formaldehyde glue off the market).

          • drax

            You can’t just look at a building and declare that it is not sufficiently energy-efficient, CD.

          • Josh S

            W&L is energy inefficient compared to what?

          • i’m down with that

            LEED has been gamed by developers ALL OVER THE COUNTRY for the past decade.

          • John Fontain

            Why you insist on shooting yourself in the foot time after time is beyond me. But thanks for providing a link to the document which shows that you are, in fact, wrong yet again.

            See page 48 for points that can be earned for optional measurement of efficiency post-construction. In other words, you don’t have to do this and can get your points, and therefore your LEED certification, by meeting other criteria. Like I said, there is no required measurement of energy efficiency.

          • drax

            Seriously, John, read your own posts. You wrote:

            “You misunderstand the basic premise of LEED. There is no measurement of (and therefore no certification of) energy efficiency.”

            That sure sounds like you’re saying LEED has no energy components at all. Energy is most certainly the “basic premise” of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification program. It is certainly measured.

            If you were struggling to say that you can get certified at some level without energy points, perhaps you should say that instead.

          • John Fontain

            Context is key my friend. And my statement was written in response to your assertion that LEED certification means the building has a certain level of energy efficiency. Here is your opening statement:

            “it certifies that it has the efficiency that requires a LEED platinum certification.”

            Trying to wordsmith doesn’t change the fact that your original assertion is still incorrect. The bottom line is that none of the LEED certifications, in and of themselves, certify any specific level of energy efficiency.

          • nuh-uh

            LEED dosn’t measure a darn thing. LEED certification is based on promises. Design. Checking boxes. These things can be and are gamed. The USGBC has known for years that its energy components are weak, and so recently they’ve strengthened that part of the regime. But if you look at actual measured energy performance after occupancy of LEED bldgs vs. non-LEED buildings, I doubt you’ll find significant improvement. Problem is, building owners don’t share data.

          • drax

            If building owners don’t share data, how do you know?

          • Josh S

            Yeah, you “doubt?”

            I “doubt” Dubya got more votes than Gore in Florida. So what? Where is your proof?

          • nuh-uh

            As a matter of fact, here’s some discussion of this very issue, from yesterday on Capitol Hill. Check out the guy from Oberlin, bemoaning no credible data to show improved energy performance…

            http://science.house.gov/press-release/subcommittee-evaluates-rating-systems-measure-%E2%80%98green-buildings%E2%80%99

  • WM

    Are they still trying to lure a small grocer?

  • KalashniKEV

    I predict if they flush enough money chasing the LEED scam, this baby could soon go DOUBLE-PLATINUM!

  • ClarendonDweller

    I want to preface this comment by noting that I am in no way against green building/efficiency and believe it should be encouraged.

    But what I would like to know why LEED is the only green building rating system that builders are allowed to use in Arlington (and it seems with the Federal government as well) – considering that there are multiple other rating systems that have a lot of merit and are never mentioned/considered, I’d like to know why the County refuses to consider anything outside of USGBC’s golden rulebook. I am getting a little frustrated after reading ArlNow article after article that cites the developers having to fall over themselves for LEED certification in exchange for bonus density and there is never any indication that the county has ever or is willing to allow competition in this area.

    USGBC is laughing all the way to the bank with the certification fees they get out of us and I think that this area deserves another (competitive) look.

    • KalashniKEV

      “LEED began its development in 1994 founded and spearheaded by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) senior scientist Robert K. Watson who, as founding chairman of the LEED Steering Committee…”

      It was founded by government bureaucrats to make money. The same thing happened when the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 passed- the authors/scamsters all became Fortune 500 CFOs in 1987. The same thing happened in the Nuclear Industry around the same time. It’s the way of Big Government.

      • drax

        The NRDC isn’t a government agency.

        Maybe Robert K. Watson is homeless though!

        Go outside and breathe the clean air that energy efficiency and emissions reduction brings, Kev. It will be good for you.

    • drax

      Do you know that they only consider LEED, or are you just assuming?

    • KnowItAll

      ClarendonDweller, the feds are currently in the process of evaluating several different building evaluation systems, and LEED is only one. GSA is attempting to adopt or homogenize several current model standards to establish a uniform federal standard going forward.

      The first step of their evaluation was completed last week, and the first round of cuts were made of the more than 180 competing building evaluation systems. The initial findings are that LEED is not the best system, and the feds are likely to adopt the “Green Globes” program, a competitor to LEED.

      • Clarendon

        Thanks, that’s interesting. I found a comparrison of the two systems that seems pretty good

        http://www.nlcpr.com/Green_Building_Rating_UofM.pdf

      • Noonan

        So….another way of saying LEED is going to be the Betamax of energy certificate programs?

        • Josh S

          S&P, Moodys, Fitch.

          • drax

            Experian, Equifax, TransUnion.

          • Stooge

            Moe, Larry, Curly.

          • Pep Boys

            Manny, Moe, Jack

          • KalashniKEV

            Glock, SIG, H&K.

          • Noonan

            None officially adopted as the standard by the federal government. That is what is going to downgrade LEED. You are mixing apples and oranges.

      • KnowItAll

        The critical point, IMO, is that Green Globes already carries an ANSI certification. When you realize the role ANSI has had for decades in establishing the basics of quality control for virtually everything that goes into a building, and every process used to utilize those materials, that carries a huge amount of weight over LEED.

    • Mary-Austin

      LEED is usually used because it has become and industry standard. There are other systems such as green globes that can be used but it’s rare.
      By the way USGBC isn’t exactly rolling in it. In fact the National Capital Region chapter is having a hard time financially even though the national headquarters lets them use space.

      • Vikram

        BOMA has adopted Green Globes, and BOMA definitely is part of the building industry.

        I am not sure which industry you are referring to that has adopted LEED, unless you mean the Government-Developer Partnership Industry, aka the I-Scratch-Your-Back-You-Scratch-Mine industry.

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