While it is certainly encouraging to witness the rise in the number of newly-constructed projects that have been awarded LEED certification (some of which are included in this Top 10), what is perhaps more inspiring is when an existing building—especially an iconic and historic structure—is given a new lease on its life through sustainable renovations to its existing structure and operations. One such example comes from a company that took on the challenge to reduce its environmental impact while greening its offices and workspaces. The Phoenix Companies Inc., a provider of life insurance and annuity solutions, announced earlier this year that its landmark One American Row building, located in Hartford, CT, was awarded Silver-level LEED certification for Existing Buildings by the USGBC.
It is the first office building to receive LEED-EB Silver certification in the city of Hartford and only the second office building to receive certification in the state of Connecticut. But what makes One American Row a truly unique building (apart from its iconic design) is not just that it was renovated to meet the LEED standards, but also, that it is the first office buildings in New England—and one of only a few in the United States—that is both on the National Register of Historic Places and LEED-EB certified.
Some of the efficiencies The Phoenix Companies achieved in converting the existing building into a model of sustainable architecture include:
- Savings of more than $200,000 in utility expenses in 2009
- Reduced carbon footprint by 18 percent
- Reduced water consumption by 1.5 million gallons
- Reduced CO2 emissions by 853,500 pounds
- Sent 240,000 pounds of construction materials to recycling
- Recycled more than 11,000 fluorescent lamps
With an Energy Star rating of 89, the 454,000- square-foot, 13-story tower garnered 12 out of a possible 15 LEED points for optimizing energy efficiency performance, with the green cleaning program obtaining seven out of a possible nine LEED points. Overall, One American Row came within five points of obtaining Gold certification.
The locally dubbed "boat building" was designed by architect Max Abramovitz and opened in 1963, and is prized as a stellar example of the Modernist architectural style, with its unique form and two-sided, lenticular plan—considered to be the first two-sided building in the world. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.