CFR’s Washington, DC, Building Awarded LEED Gold Certification

CFR’s Washington, DC, Building Awarded LEED Gold Certification

October 14, 2009 1:16 pm (EST)

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The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is proud to announce that its new Washington, DC, building was awarded LEED® gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and was verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the nation’s premier program for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. Only some 3,400 buildings nationwide are LEED certified.  Of these, 1,100 of them have achieved gold certification (the second highest level of certification, behind platinum). In Washington, DC, approximately sixty-eight buildings have been LEED certified and only thirty-three have achieved gold certification.

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"The LEED certification of our Washington building is an important validation of CFR’s commitment to environmental responsibility. It is a smart thing to do, as energy savings will more than pay for the additional costs associated with reaching LEED gold status.  It is also the right thing to do," said CFR President Richard N. Haass.

The building project was led by the architecture and design firm Mancini Duffy and managed by Mark G. Anderson Consultants. Construction of the building began in November 2007 and was completed in December 2008. The office relocated to its new address near the White House in January 2009.

The building, located at 1777 F Street NW, incorporated two previously existing buildings-a Victorian-style townhouse completed in 1871 and a modern concrete and glass building built in 1981. "What makes this achievement so extraordinary is the fact that the project refurbished two existing buildings, one of which had a protected historical façade, and added a third, modern façade to tie the composition together," said Mancini Duffy’s LEED-accredited Design Principal Anik K. Jhaveri. "It is rare for renovation of existing structures to be awarded LEED gold certification."

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The process for obtaining LEED certification is based on accumulating points in five areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Some of the steps CFR took to achieve gold certification included:

-  Recycling seventy-five percent of construction debris, thereby diverting it from landfills.

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-  Planting water efficient landscaping, expected to result in a fifty percent reduction in water use.

-  Installing a rainwater capture system to store 5,000 gallons of diverted rainwater to use for irrigation and washing of sidewalks.

-  Replacing all windows and adding new insulation throughout to reduce utility use.

-  Utilizing twenty percent recycled materials in renovations, including carpeting and furniture fabrics.

-  Using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified woods for millwork, paneling, and furniture. FSC is dedicated to promoting sustainable forestry practices throughout the world.

-  Setting up air filtration inside the building to minimize the amount of dust produced during construction, thus making the worksite healthier for workers.

-  Installing automated lighting controls throughout the building to reduce energy use.

"With each new LEED certified building, we get one step closer to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO, and founding chairman of USGBC. "CFR is an exemplary model of high-performance design and function that makes an immediate and positive impact on our planet."

The building was also recognized with a 2009 Green Building of America Award from Real Estate & Construction Review, and Mancini Duffy received the Award of Excellence for Best Renovation from the Maryland/DC chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. The building was also designed to earn the Energy Star, the joint U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency program that recognizes energy efficient practices by businesses and homeowners.

The building features ample natural light, flexible space for both large and small events, state of the art conference technology, and a healthy working environment for CFR members and staff. Most of the building’s meeting spaces, including its 250-person conference room, intimate board rooms, and terraces, are available for rentals for external events.

CFR’s historic headquarters in New York is also committed to decreasing its environmental footprint. This year, with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the building will be undergoing an energy survey aimed at increasing energy efficiency over the long term.

"I could not be more pleased with the LEED certification and all the Council’s environmental efforts. We believe that going green in our buildings is the perfect complement to our important intellectual work in the realm of energy and climate change policy," said Haass.

For more information about CFR, visit

For information about renting space at CFR in Washington, visit or email [email protected].

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.


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