The applicant screening firm Vertical Screen, Inc. has just been awarded LEED Platinum Certification for its new headquarters building ocated in Warminster. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum is the highest sustainability designation granted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
Under the LEED New Construction rating system, Vertical Screen's LEED Platinum score of 58 points makes the building the greenest in Pennsylvania, and ties it for the seventh-highest LEED score for a newly constructed office building in the United States and ninth highest in the world.
"We set out with a vision to create a workplace that is both functional and environmentally conscious, and we are very pleased to have reached both these important goals. That we achieved one of the highest LEED Platinum scores in the world we hope only serves to magnify the example that our building sets in encouraging others to follow the same path," said Vertical Screen CEO Tony D'Orazio.
The 50,000 square foot building is located on nine acres of a Warminster Brownfield site that was once occupied by the Johnsville Naval Air Warfare Center, where the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo mission astronauts trained in the 1950s and 1960s. The building contains numerous advanced green technologies, including:
- A geothermal HVAC system that uses 64 closed ground-loop wells installed at a depth of 500 feet to utilize the Earth's mean temperature to heat and cool the building;
- A roof-mounted solar photovoltaic array comprised of 900 panels (each containing 40 cylindrical modules) that generates 163 kilowatts of power – about 20 percent of the building's total electricity needs;
- A rainwater harvesting system that collects rainwater from the roof in a 15,000 gallon underground storage tank, filters it and uses it to flush toilets and urinals and to irrigate four interior green roofs and a living wall;
- A daylight harvesting system that utilizes 40-foot-high glass curtain walls on the east and west sides of the building and a 10-foot-high glass south wall to let in as much natural daylight as possible. A Building Automation System (BAS) dims and/or turns on and off lights and controls an automated shading system based upon the amount of available daylight;
- A Structured Insulated Panel (SIPS) roof deck system that provides an extremely strong, airtight structure that is highly energy efficient; and
- Building materials composed of recycled or rapidly renewing resources, including carpeting made from used car tires; discarded/recycled glass countertops; concrete with byproduct fly ash or slag composition; building slab and parking lot underlayments made of discarded, crushed masonry; bamboo doors and cabinets; wheat board cabinets; cork and linoleum floors; and Kirei board toilet partitions. The building also utilizes Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood throughout.
"This project represents a new paradigm for corporate office space. By embracing Tony's commitment to the environment as well as to his workforce, we were able to reshape the notion of the 'corporate cathedral' into one that is both socially and environmentally responsible," said Erdy McHenry Architecture LLC Principal Scott Erdy, whose firm designed the Vertical Screen headquarters building. "What has been created for the Vertical Screen community will become a benchmark for corporate responsibility and healthy work environments."
"A LEED Platinum certification demonstrates a strong commitment to environmental stewardship with respect to the built environment. Vertical Screen went further to provide not only a visually stunning work atmosphere, but an environment that fosters employee health and well-being," said Scott Kelly, principal of Re:Vision Architecture, the project's LEED consultant. "From the ample daylighting and access to restored meadows, to the natural material selection and living walls, Vertical Screen brings the outdoors in and is sure to become a new standard for corporate interiors."
More than 300 Vertical Screen employees began working in the building on May 2. "Today is the six month anniversary of our relocation to the building. While we are still tweaking some of the building's systems and have not yet seen all four seasons, we are excited that we are so far surpassing our major performance benchmarks," said D'Orazio.
During the first six months of operation, the new Vertical Screen world headquarters building has utilized more than 60 percent less energy and more than 70 percent less municipal water than a similar-sized traditional office building.
Vertical Screen is planning a LEED plaque presentation ceremony at its headquarters later in the year.