Discovery Takes the LEED

Monday, January 28, 2008

More than 4,000 of the office building's incandescent light bulbs were changed to fluorescent. Three large water tanks were installed in an underground parking garage to collect rainwater to irrigate a one-acre patch of lawn. Workers held contests to see who could save the most energy by turning off computers and lights.

Those efforts were part of a year-long initiative at Discovery Communications' headquarters in downtown Silver Spring to save energy, and reduce water usage and pollution.

Last month, the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council recognized Discovery's efforts by certifying its 540,000-square-foot building as "platinum," the highest designation under the council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

Only 62 buildings in the United States have won platinum status from the District-based council. Its LEED system gives buildings points for innovations in development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

"Discovery Communications . . . will serve as a showcase for high-performance, energy-efficient, healthy buildings," Rick Fedrizzi, the council's chief executive, said in a statement.

The other two platinum-certified buildings in the Washington region are in the District: the Sidwell Friends School, along Wisconsin Avenue in Northwest, and the U.S. Green Building Council's headquarters, on Massachusetts Avenue NW, just south of Dupont Circle.

-- Alejandro Lazo

© 2008 The Washington Post Company