GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — The headquarters of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a United Nations agency which serves as a bank for developing countries, was certified at the Gold level under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance rating system by the Green Building Certification Institute. The six-story building is located in Rome, where three Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc. (FTC&H) team members led intense work sessions in March and October 2009. After their onsite work, FTC&H collaborated with the project team for nine months via e-mail, videoconferencing, telephone, and websites to document the achievement.

FTC&H was engaged by its Italian client Habitech to assist IFAD staff. LEED focuses on site selection, water and energy efficiency, protection of the atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. FTC&H has worked in Italy with Habitech since 2007 on several other projects in the LEED for New Construction and LEED for Schools rating systems, but this was the first international LEED for Existing Buildings project for FTC&H.

The U.S. Green Buildings Council’s public records database indicates that this is the first such project in Europe and the first LEED-Gold Building in Rome. FTC&H assisted with the certification of Europe’s first LEED for Schools in Riva del Garda, Italy, in 2009.

Measures contributing to the Gold award include:

  • IFAD’s own shuttle service to the Rome Metro reduces vehicle parking at the site
  • Potable water for irrigation is reduced by more than 50 percent (harvested from roof drains)
  • Efficient plumbing fixtures reduced potable water use more than 25 percent
  • HVAC and lighting systems were commissioned for optimum operation
  • An ENERGY STAR rating of 85 percent was achieved
  • Recycling: 90 percent of the building’s waste is diverted from landfill
  • Purchasing: 85 percent of consumables have recycled, regional, or other sustainable content
  • For the building cafeteria, 35 percent of food is purchased locally or is certified organic
  • More than 50 percent of the occupant work spaces have direct views to the outdoors

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