UNEP RONA 'LEED's the way

Mon, 18/11/13

Back in July 2010, Greening the Blue reported on the first UN office to achieve LEED certification. We’ve now learned that the example set by UNEP’s Regional Office of North America (RONA) has been replicated across the rest of the building, which is situated in Washington D.C.  

In just two years, RONA has succeeded in inspiring change and has worked with the landlord to bring the rest of the 12-storey building, occupied by approximately twenty different organizations, up to LEED Gold standard.
Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox, Senior Communications Officer of UNEP RONA explains:
“In our regular meetings with the building owners we were able to plant the seed that it would be rewarding if the whole building could be retro-fitted to the same standard. UNEP RONA achieving the accreditation inspired the landlord to roll out the improvements throughout the building, and we feel encouraged by this development.”
Elisabeth went onto explain:
RONA’s retro-fit was the result of true collaboration. It was made possible with the support of architects, contractors, real-estate agents and building management companies. It wasn’t hard to get everyone on board - the financial case for making the whole building more environmentally-friendly was clear. It represented an opportunity to lead positive change, as well as a long-term investment in the environment.”
The benefits aren’t just financial, staff are proud to work in offices where 80% of materials are recycled, the chairs in reception are made from recycled seat belts and the conference table is made from sunflower seeds. Electricity consumption has fell by 9% between 2010 and 2011, which resulted in a financial saving of approximately $17,000 USD in 8 months.
Building Manager, Selene Argueta describes the advantages by saying:
“Achieving LEED certification demonstrates our commitment to providing our tenants a place that has both high indoor environmental quality and high performance sustainable operations.  Being LEED certified has also translated into cost savings through significant reductions in energy and water consumption.
Gold certification is the second highest LEED rating, awarded by the United States Green Building Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) scheme, whose stated aims are to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability whilst reducing the negative environmental impacts of buildings and improving occupant health and well-being.
UNEP is fortunate to be based in the District of Colombia, USA, which is seen as a leader in sustainable building practices. The Green Building Act of 2012 requires that “all new development projects will be required to meet LEED certification.”












(Conference table made from sunflower seeds)













(Reception chairs made from old seat belts and glass door recovered from the previous building)

Categories: Buildings