Watt Plaza is First Office Building in LA to Receive LEED Gold EB O&M

May 27, 2009

Watt Plaza, a twin, 23-story office tower complex encompassing 900,000 square feet in the heart of Century City, has been awarded Gold LEED Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (EB O&M) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first office building in Los Angeles to achieve the distinction in this category.

Watt Plaza is one of five buildings in California and one of 12 buildings in the United States to be certified LEED EB O&M. LEED is the U.S. Green Building Council’s primary rating system for designing and constructing the world’s greenest, most energy-efficient and high-performing buildings.

Watt Plaza’s LEED certification was based on a number of green measures taken to positively impact the project itself and the broader community, and reduce global climate change. These measures include water conversation, waste recovery, alternative transportation options, energy-efficiency measures, and an indoor air quality management program.

Watt Plaza installed low-flow faucets, low-flush toilets, and 88 water-free urinals – measures that save millions of gallons of water per year. Based on the Pacific Institute Water-to-Air Model, which correlates water and energy demands to calculate carbon-dioxide emissions, the use of the water-free urinals alone reduces carbon-dioxide emissions by 39,600 pounds per year.

The team has also implemented a waste program that diverts 70 percent of all building waste to a materials recovery facility in addition to e-waste, battery, bulb, and ballast recycling programs. Alternative transportation options include bicycle racks, promotion of increased participation in ridesharing, and providing commuting information from various websites to building occupants.

Energy-efficiency measures encompass the achievement of a high ENERGY STAR rating (benchmark of energy performance relative to similar buildings in similar climates) each year since 2004, installation of window film throughout building interior, and installation of 2,231 occupancy sensors. The window film rejects up to 79 percent of the heat that would otherwise come through the window; this can translate into a savings of about one ton of air-conditioning for every 100 square feet of glass exposed to sunlight. In the colder winter months, the window film also works to reflect manmade heat back into the building, reducing heat loss by up to 30 percent.

The indoor air quality management program includes proper maintenance of outdoor air introduction and exhaust systems, a high-performance cleaning program consisting of green-certified products and equipment, safety guidelines, and a periodic green cleaning custodial effectiveness audit, all of which result in the enhancement of indoor air quality, contributing to the comfort and well-being of the occupants.

“We’ve made a significant effort to transform Watt Plaza into a shining example of environmental innovation,” says Nadine Watt, president of Watt Plaza. “We are thrilled to receive this much sought-after and prestigious certification, especially when you consider that these buildings have been operational for over 25 years. This achievement underscores our deep-seeded commitment to protecting the environment and our desire to contribute to the growing strength of the green building movement.”

The U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification system, which has become the nation’s benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings, provides a measurement of performance for commercial buildings in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

“Watt Plaza’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” says Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Watt Plaza serves as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish.”

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has commended Watt Plaza for its commitment to the environment. “With this landmark certification, Watt Plaza has moved Los Angeles one step closer toward becoming the greenest big city in the world.”

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