Client News 12/15/09

Seeking LEED Gold, 901 K St.’s new, D.C. office building attracts attention, while conserving resources

Designed and built to achieve LEED® Gold Certification through the U.S. Green Building Council, the 260,000-square-foot property, 901 K Street, fills a unique, triangular-shaped space in Washington, D.C.’s office landscape, both in its design and location.

The 12-story, $60 million dollar development designed by SmithGroup met its daylighting and energy-efficiency objectives, aided by Wausau Window and Wall Systems. The project and its team were recognized on December 11, as part of Mid-Atlantic Construction magazine’s “Best of 2009” office building awards. Occupants began moving in this autumn, less than a year after the building’s curtainwall installation began.

Award-winning 901 K Street, DC

901 K Street, D.C.

“In a tough economy, property owners are doing all they can to attract and retain occupants. In a world of diminishing natural resources and global climate change, building owners also are constructing and managing their properties with environmentally-friendly practices,” says Kevin Robbins, Wausau’s regional sales manager. “Carr Properties has addressed all of these issues with 901 K Street.”

Bob Carr, the managing partner of the company’s development affiliate, was quoted in the Washington Business Journal as saying: “901 K Street represents our firm’s serious commitment to LEED construction and energy conservation. Our world needs it. The momentum towards sustainability in our industry is growing exponentially, and we’re excited to be part of it.”

Also excited to be a part of the project, Robbins adds, “Green office buildings are not a new trend. They are becoming the new standard. Like property owners, occupants also are more sophisticated about their wants and needs in an office space.”

Wausau's custom sun shades

Wausau's custom sun shades

With its goals clearly in mind, Carr Properties developed this prominent office and retail space in a desirable location in D.C. The sustainable attributes of 901 K Street include green roofs to minimize the urban heat-island effect, water-conserving plumbing fixtures and low-emitting interior materials, and low-VOC finishes. In addition, the building’s energy-efficient lighting system and high-performance, non-CFC HVAC system are complemented by curtainwall systems and sun shades provided by Wausau. The floor-to-ceiling windows allow 60% of the building’s interior space to receive natural light.

Wausau worked closely with D.C-based contractors at Clark Construction Group, specialty contractors at Icon Exterior Building Solutions and architects at SmithGroup. Together, they sought to meet all of 901 K Street’s requirements. Beyond the LEED Gold criteria, the project also needed to address security with consideration of the neighboring government buildings and the surrounding community.

“We’re not only familiar with how to address the property’s goals, but also in working in this area. We have two other projects literally across the street from 901 K Street development: Embassy Suites and 1050 K Street. 1050 K Street also is under development and pursuing LEED Gold certification,” says Mark Gedney, Wausau’s manufacturer’s representative and president of Advanced Building Concepts, Inc.

The south side of the building faces K Street, affording occupants expansive views of the historic neighborhood and downtown Washington. With respect to the nearby community, 901 K Street’s northeast elevation on Massachusetts Avenue was designed with a softer façade of terracotta paneling and ornamental accents. “We designed a curved terracotta rain screen façade facing Massachusetts Avenue that relates to the context of the adjacent smaller scale masonry buildings,” said Christopher Woody, project architect with SmithGroup. “This represents one of the first uses of this type of cladding system in the District of Columbia.”

Woody continued, “One of the major project challenges was coordinating the design and installation of the terracotta and the curtainwall façade. Wausau’s team collaborated with us from the beginning to reach a successful solution that integrated the façade’s diverse materials. The system we chose fit well within the design intent while keeping within the budget. ”

Blending the building’s style and systems, the exposed aluminum framing was painted by Linetec to match the terracotta. Aside from the terracotta rain screen, the three-side support, glass sun shades were a first for Wausau, according to Wausau’s project manager, Carl Wanta. “These are both decorative and functional, helping contribute to the building’s solar control for energy management and related LEED requirements.”

“Wausau was instrumental in coordinating all the LEED submission information for us. Utilizing post-consumer content for the aluminum extrusions, the reduction of VOC emissions during the painting process at Linetec, and Wausau’s expertise and experience helped us achieve our LEED goals,” says Curt Johnson, partner with Icon Exterior Building Solutions.

“Given the amount of glass on the building, we were able to use Viracon‘s high-performance, radiant low-e line of VRE glass, which helped us achieve the heating and cooling loads we needed for the building,” says Woody.

“Large southern exposures require thoughtful planning to maximize daylighting and views, while managing energy costs,” explains Wanta. “Effectively-engineered, modern curtainwall systems not only keep energy costs down by managing unwanted solar heat gain, which reduces the load on the HVAC systems, they keep people more comfortable, which means they’re more productive in an office setting.”

“Wausau has extensive experience with LEED projects that must find this balance, including its own LEED Silver-certified manufacturing center,” says Gedney. “It’s fitting that the high-performance products fabricated for hundreds of building projects each year come from a green facility.”

He adds, “Meeting LEED building criteria does not mean compromising on materials and finishes. Green does not have to mean dull and utilitarian.” As evidence, Gedney points to the terracotta rain screen, the custom glass, sun shades from Wausau, and the dramatic, east lobby’s five-story atrium containing Ambarino marble, Peribonka granite and maple paneling.

Wausau's glazing systems help connect visually, physically with surroundings

visually, physically connects with surroundings

Relying on Wausau’s high-performance systems and Viracon’s glass, the lobby’s finishes are protected from fading, while its occupants enjoy a comfortable interior climate. The transparency of 901 K Street’s curtainwall system also keeps guests connected with their surrounding environment. The building also physically connects 901 K to the neighboring Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church. The 1917 neoclassical church plays a prominent part of the historic neighborhood.

“We know that the neighborhood is pleased with the building. It’s nice to be acknowledged by our peers, too,” says Robbins, referring to 901 K Street’s Mid-Atlantic Construction magazine’s Best of 2009 Award of Merit in the Office category. An independent jury selected winners based on the building teams’ established goals, challenges overcome, innovative approaches, exceptional design and craftsmanship and teamwork. “The 901 K Street property is an exceptional project, a trophy building, and many people’s effort came together to make it happen.”

Photos by Anne Gummerson, courtesy of Icon Exterior Building Systems.

Download a PDF of the full success story by clicking here and see Wausau’s online Green Building section for more project examples and resources.

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One Response

  1. Very nice…thoroughly enjoyed the pictures.

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