Environmental Group

February 4, 2009

(San Francisco - February 04, 2009) The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded Environmental Defense Fund its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for renovation of its leased 14,336 square-foot office in downtown San Francisco. The council has given this certification out to less than a dozen commercial interior office spaces in the city. 

LEED is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The USGBC rates a building in five key areas: sustainable site development; water savings; energy efficiency; materials selection; and indoor environmental quality.
“Green buildings are an important piece of the climate stabilization puzzle,” said David Festa, vice president of Environmental Defense Fund’s West Coast offices. “We are all in the global warming fight together and Environmental Defense Fund is walking the talk by creating an office that is good for employees and the planet.”
Environmental Defense Fund – working with Pollack Architecture, GCI and the Staubach Company – achieved the gold rating by designing a leased office space with the following features:
  • Recycling 90 percent of the facility’s generated waste (on an on-going basis);
  • Reducing energy use and lighting costs by utilizing natural light throughout the space;
  • Encouraging and enabling use of public transportation and mass transit options and providing facilities for bike storage and showering;
  • Achieving high indoor air quality ratings during and after construction;
  • Diverting more than 80 percent of on-site generated construction waste from landfills by sorting waste for reuse or recycling;
  • Using recycled and regional content for materials, including recycled sheet rock, carpet and ceiling tiles;
  • Using rapidly renewable materials and wood harvested from certified forests;
  • Using 90 percent ENERGY STAR-rated appliances; and
  • Purchasing renewable energy credits for green power to account for its electricity use.
The build out of the San Francisco office came in within four percent of typical construction costs, demonstrating that sustainable renovations can be economical and cost competitive.
“We view our new San Francisco office as an opportunity to lead by example using LEED standards,” said Peter Accinno, chief financial officer for Environmental Defense Fund. 
Building construction, demolition and operations consume up to 40 percent of the earth’s energy and other natural resources, according to the Worldwatch Institute. Energy efficient buildings will play a key role helping cities, states and countries achieve energy and emission reduction goals. In 2007, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom established a Green Building Task Force as part of his Clean and Green Initiative and Climate Action Plan. In 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) that calls for reducing California’s global warming emissions by 30 percent by 2020.
Green building incentives are being considered as part of the federal economic stimulus package that is now making its way through Congress. Green building is considered a vital new source of needed jobs. By 2013, the green building sector is likely to become a $96-140 billion market, an increase from today’s market valued between $36-49 billion, according to USGBC. The council also estimates that it accounts for 10-12 percent of today’s commercial and institutional market and McGraw-Hill predicts that new commercial and institutional construction starts will account for up to 25 percent of market activity by 2013.
Environmental Defense Fund offers tours of its San Francisco facility to encourage more green building. Since 1999, the organization has used sustainable construction standards in building out its offices. Its Washington, DC office, for example, was awarded a LEED-CI Silver certification in 2001, and its New York headquarters facility was built in 2000 by pioneering architectural firm Croxton Collaborative before LEED certification for commercial interiors existed.
Environmental Defense Fund worked with Pollack Architecture, GCI and the Staubach Company, now known as Jones Lang LaSalle, on the design and renovation of its office. Teknion and SideMark provided design and furnishing services for the office. Pollack Architecture is a San Francisco-based architectural firm that specializes in sustainable interior design. GCI is a San Francisco-based commercial contracting firm that specializes in commercial interiors, corporate facility and building renovation projects in Northern California. Jones Lang LaSalle is a market-leading global real estate advisory firm that delivers cost-effective solutions for office, industrial and retail clients. Teknion is a leading international designer, manufacturer and marketer of office systems and related office furniture products. SideMark provides office furnishings services for commercial and institutional clients.