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LEED Roundup: Exelon, Sony Pictures, Chicago Botanic Garden, WVU, NASA, Patriots Plaza I

Here’s a roundup of some of the most recent businesses that have earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

These include Exelon, NASA Johnson Space Center, Sony Pictures Entertainment, West Virginia University (WVU), Patriots Plaza I, and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Here are highlights for each LEED certification project.

Exelon, one of the nation’s largest utilities, has increased its LEED-certified space to more than 650,000 square feet with the expansion at its corporate headquarters. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded LEED Platinum certification for Commercial Interiors (CI) to Exelon’s 27,000-square-foot corporate headquarters expansion in a downtown Chicago skyscraper.

The company’s Exelon 2020 business and environmental plan sets a goal of reducing energy use at its commercial buildings by 25 percent by 2012, from 2001 levels. By the end of 2009, Exelon already had reduced energy use in its commercial facilities by more than 23 percent.

In addition to the 11-story corporate headquarters, Exelon has received LEED certification at six other facilities.

Exelon’s newly certified expansion into the 55th floor of Chicago’s Chase Tower has reduced electricity consumption by 50 percent and water consumption by 38 percent as compared to the previous space.

The space features an energy-efficient lighting system, including T-5 fluorescent fixtures, occupancy sensors and dimming technology, and advanced control of heating, cooling and ventilation systems.

Exelon purchased more than half of the project materials and products from manufacturers within 500 miles to reduce emissions from transportation. It also recycled or salvaged more than 80 percent of the construction waste and other materials.

All of the office’s electricity use is offset by purchasing regional, Green-e certified wind power. In addition, the space improves air quality through the use of low-emitting materials, paints, carpeting, furniture and finishes, and the installation of high-density air filters in the HVAC system.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has been awarded LEED Gold certification for the studio’s Lot and Office Transformation (LOT) Project, which includes the construction of two new 100,000-square-foot office buildings and a parking structure.

The Jack Cohn and Harry Cohn building projects used local and recycled building materials as well as diverted more than 93 percent (16,128 tons) of construction waste material from landfills. It also incorporated an onsite filtration system for storm water runoff and low-flow toilets and urinals, and installed motion detector lights and energy efficient light bulbs.

The buildings also used low-emitting carpeting, paint, sealants, adhesives and wall coverings, and included the construction of a highly efficient central cooling plant.

The Chicago Botanic Garden has earned a Gold LEED rating for the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center. The Plant Science Center, which opened in September 2009, received points in six categories including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, material & resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design process.

Some of the buildings sustainable features include a rainwater glen to collect and filter runoff from the building and adjacent parking areas, light-colored roofing and a 16,000 square-foot green roof garden to reduce heat island effect, and low-flow plumbing fixtures and valves that cut the building’s water use by 30 percent.

The Plant Science Center also features 280 solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of the building, which provides five percent of the power needed to operate the center. Monitoring equipment was installed on the Green Roof Garden to help plant conservation scientists measure the green roof’s insulation effect on the building and other factors that will identify the best plants to grow on Midwest green roof gardens.

Other features include energy-efficient lighting, insulation of exterior walls and roof, windows with low-E and high-performance glass, air lock vestibules at all entrances and radiant heating and cooling built into the floor to regulate building temperatures.

Building materials were selected to have no or low volatile organic compounds, such as paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants and composite wood and agrifiber products. The project also diverted 75 percent of construction waste from disposal.

The Patriots Plaza I, in Washington, D.C., has earned the LEED for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance Silver certification through the USGBC’s LEED Volume Pilot program. Sustainable features at the 12-story, 280,000-square-foot building includes energy-efficient lighting, reduced water consumption, a green roof, better waste management and a high-efficiency mechanical system, according to Costar Group.

NASA Johnson Space Center has received its second LEED Gold certification. The certification was awarded to the JSC Public Affairs Office building, which brings the total of LEED certified JSC buildings to five, including two Silver certifications. Three additional buildings are currently under consideration for LEED status.

West Virginia University (WVU) claims to be the first “double gold” LEED certified building in the state, reports The Daily Athenaeum. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Legacy Management Business Center in WVU’s Research Park earned its two LEED certifications for both the Core and Shell category and Commercial Interiors category.

Here’s a link to last week’s roundup of LEED buildings.

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