Reading (April 29, 2010) – Berks County Community Foundation’s headquarters and community conference center earned the highest level of LEED® certification available to environmentally sustainable or “green” buildings, it was announced today.
LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is bestowed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) based on a rating system that measures a building’s environmental impact. Projects earn LEED points based on items such as site selection, the management of the construction process, water efficiency, energy use, materials selection, indoor air quality, and educational impact.
“The Community Foundation set out to design a headquarters that would inspire other businesses that are building or renovating to keep the environment in mind,” said Kevin K. Murphy, president of the Community Foundation. “We only included those green features that would pay for themselves in ten years or less. Our achievement of LEED platinum proves that companies can earn the highest level of certification by building smarter – not more expensively.”
The Community Foundation’s headquarters and community conference center used an architectural process called integrated design. In an integrated design, the facility owners, occupants, architects, design consultants and construction managers work together from day one to create a blueprint that not only works on paper, but works at the job site, as well.
“The integrated design process allowed us to bring in our mechanical engineers early, for example, so we could make small changes to the design that would have a huge impact on the building’s environmental footprint without having a huge impact on the budget,” Murphy said.
One of those design changes involved siting the building at a 9.5-degree angle on the rectangular building site. “That one small shift gave us a full, unfettered southern exposure that allowed us to use the sun to light many of the interior spaces during the day,” Murphy said. “And that small shift didn’t add a penny to the cost of the building.”
A seven-minute video showcases the building’s green features, which include:
- a 5,000 gallon cistern that collects rainwater off the roof to be used for toilet flushing
- energy efficient lighting fixtures
- low-flow water fixtures
- energy star appliances
- green, or planted, roofs
- recycled carpeting and countertops
- reclaimed stair material and office furniture
- a radiant heating and cooling system
The Community Foundation’s building team included Re:Vision Architecture, Philadelphia; DesignWorks Architects, Reading; Burkey Construction, Reading; and The Alvin Butz Company, Allentown. The Community Foundation’s senior vice president for finance and operations, Frances A. Aitken, CPA, worked with the team to ensure that the facility met the foundation’s requirements and provided meeting space for local nonprofit groups to use free of charge.
“This is the community’s building,” Aitken said. “It’s a place where people meet to work on projects that make Berks County a great place to live, now and in the future.”
Photo: Franki Aitken displays LEED Platinum Medallion awarded to Berks County Community Foundation.
About Berks County Community Foundation
Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing funds to meet existing and emerging community needs. More information is available at www.bccf.org.
About the U.S. Green Building Council
The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 155,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.
Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Over 32,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising over 9.6 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community. USGBC was co-founded by current President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, who spent 25 years as a Fortune 500 executive. Under his 15-year leadership, the organization has become the preeminent green building, membership, policy, standards, influential, education and research organization in the nation. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.