The 10 Ten Most Awesome Office Renovations

Architects and designers interested in the most vital office renovation projects look to the sustainable models in this 10/10 review.

The U.S. federal General Services Administration (GSA) GSA Office of Government wide Policy has been instrumental in creating prototypes for a future of environmental sustainability in public sector architecture. Office renovations conducted by the GSA reflect the energy efficiency goals of the federal government’s policy on GHG emissions reductions, and also exploit local resources to maximize efficiency.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) distinguishes Green Projects as those in compliance with the U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) system. Reduction of an office building’s ecological footprint is the objective in design, building and maintenance of GSA sustainable projects.

Stewardship for the environment in construction and in control of waste in the ten ‘10’ GSA case studies, illustrates public-private partnership in public sector LEED projects since 1999:

1. PBS WorkPlace 20•20 Pilot, 2005
2. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 2003
3. Treasury Inspector for Tax Administration, 2003
4. Deutsche Bank, 2002
5. Millennium Pharmaceuticals, 2002
6. Cigna, 2002
7. University of Miami, 1995-2002
8. Herman Miller Marketplace, 2001
9. GSA Office of the Future, 2000
10. GSA Adaptable Workplace Lab, 1999

Ten ‘10’ LEED recommendations for awesome office renovations in compliance with Green Building Council codes:

1. Lead Paint Removal - if a building was constructed prior to 1978, it is likely it contains lead paint. Owners are required by law to evidence lead-free certification.

2. Asbestos Removal - another hazard that must be removed from office environments prior to renovation, asbestos is found in ‘popcorn’ ceilings, insulation, and sometimes vinyl flooring.

3. Mould Removal - renovation activities can expose hidden mould and water damaged areas not seen prior to rehabilitation. Mould abatement is essential to meeting EPA and LEED standards in building renovation.

4. Sustainable Design - LEED certified contractors, designers, and suppliers can guide the renovation and ensure that an office building is a sustainable, healthy work environment.

5. Eco-building Resources - building products designated as ‘eco-building’ materials are those not made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride/vinyl), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) or phthalate chemicals. VOC (volatile organic compounds) products should be sought when requisitioning adhesives, composite wood products, paints, finishes, insulation, and flooring.

6. Journeymen Stewards - third-party eco-certified contractors working on an office renovation can attribute value in identification of hazards in process.

7. Safety Precautions - protection of workers from dust exposure with containment, respirators and adequate ventilation will reduce potential liability.

8. Durability - quality materials will last years, making them better for the surrounding environment.

9. Laboratories - when in doubt, a test lab can assist in audit of salvaged building materials.

10. Site of Advocacy - once a green building renovation is complete, put it on the community map with social media. Information about a LEED sustainable project may inspire others.

For more information about the General Services Administration's LEED certified, sustainable office renovation projects: Mary is a Managing Director of a large company and recommends using Cameron Barclay for office refurbishments. Her office is now considerably safer and more environmentally friendly.

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