Greenpeace USA's New Offices are a Green Builder's Delight

Greenpeace USA Logo
In constructing its new offices, Greenpeace USA is modeling the best of green design, creating a productive work environment for its employees, and giving its architect and contractor a new specialty niche.

Greenpeace chose to renovate a building close to mass transit in downtown Washington D.C. They joined together five buildings for a total of 15,000 square feet. The developer allowed Greenpeace to write into the lease that the entire building would be PVC-free (except for electrical wiring for which there is no substitute). The open work station layout resulted in numerous savings in addition to fostering communication among employees. For example, they used 45 percent less drywall and 61 percent less wood by not breaking up the space and needing fewer doors. And many fewer lighting fixtures were needed.

The extensive list of leading environmental products includes:

** All woods are FSC-certified. Knoll even used certified wood in the chairs it custom-manufactured for this project.
** PVC-free products used throughout

** Pantry countertops made from recycled yogurt containers and rubber flooring from recycled tires.

** Recycled-content carpet, installed with low- VOC adhesives.

** Bathroom tiles made from recycled glass; doors and desks constructed from certified wheatboard and particleboard respectively.

** Solar electric and water heating

The contractor Greenpeace worked with was somewhat familiar with green building practices and wanted to learn more. By being flexible, the contractor gained experience and is actively marketing its services to new clients interested in green building. Gary Tvrdik, the executive project manager, described how they handled a situation that often arises when dealing with unfamiliar materials: a sub-contractor was concerned about working with recycled yogart cup material to make countertops. And the manufacturer’s instructions were in German. “Once a translator was located, all was well.”

The architect for the project, Ken Wilson, also gained credentials and green building experience through this project. His new firm, Envision Design, is building its reputation based on green design.

For the project team contacts and a list of product vendors, see the full article:
Interiors & Sources Magazine, [sorry this link is no longer available]

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