FM Alert: United Nations HQ Wins 2015 Beyond Green™ Award

United Nations HQ Wins 2015 Beyond Green™ Award.The Honor Award in the High-Performance Buildings Category — the top prize in the National Institute of Building Sciences Sustainable Buildings Industry Council’s 2015 Beyond Green™ High-Performance Building and Community Awards — has been awarded to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, NY for its sustainable renovation project.

“This amazing, complex project set out to tackle multiple high-performance building attributes,” said Jim Whittaker, Beyond Green™ juror and president of Facilities Engineering Associates, during the jury’s deliberation. “In addition to addressing sustainability, the project naturally focused on historic preservation, safety and security, and accessibility. It certainly provides a glimpse into what is possible and, therefore, deserved an Honor Award.”

United Nations HQ Wins 2015 Beyond Green™ Award.
Source: Perkins+Will

The United Nations Capital Master plan called for a complete renovation of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The renovation had three major goals: to serve as an example for sustainable renovation projects; preserve the historic nature of the facility; and bring the facility up to current building code levels. Originally built in 1950, the UN campus had aged and inefficient infrastructure; code compliance issues; and materials containing asbestos. The construction on the renovation began in 2008 and was completed in June 2015. At its height, this $2 billion renovation project employed more than 650 contractors and design/construction professionals. The project achieved an overall Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification for the campus and LEED® Platinum for the Secretariat tower. The campus is targeted to achieve 50% energy savings over existing energy use. Throughout the renovation, 50% of the campus remained occupied, requiring careful phasing of the new infrastructure.

“At the time it was built, it was a highly innovative building with the newest technologies. It hadn’t changed much in 50 years,” said Mike Thoresen, PE, from Syska Hennessey Group, a contractor on the project. After the renovation, “It looks almost exactly the same. It was preserved, but upgraded.”

The 2015 Beyond Green™ Award Jury also recognized two recipients to receive Merit Awards. The Award of Merit in Category A: High-Performance Buildings went to the Center for Sustainable Landscapes at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA. The Award of Merit in Category C: High-Performance Initiatives went to the Efficient Homes Initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) and its utility partners. The winners were announced at the Beyond Green™ Awards Luncheon, sponsored by the Illuminating Engineering Society and held during Building Innovation 2016: The National Institute of Building Sciences Fourth Annual Conference and Expo.

The Call for Entries for the 2016 Beyond Green™ High-Performance Building and Community Awards will be available in the spring of 2016. Visit the WBDG Whole Building Design Guide® to peruse case studies of Beyond Green™ winners from previous years.