The National Resources Defense Council is an environmental action group with more than 1.2 million members.  One would expect that they practice what they preach and implement green business practices – and they do.  The Santa Monica NRDC building was the greenest building in the country when it opened five years ago – it went green before the concept became so popular. 

The Santa Monica office uses several measures to reduce its need for energy.  Light wells were created to allow a generous flow of natural light into the building.  The property is within view of the Pacific Ocean and so operable windows were used to take advantage of the fresh ocean breeze.  Additionally, the property receives 20 percent of its energy needs through a roof-mounted solar system.

The LEED Platinum Certified property was built in an existing building in the city center next to pedestrian walkways to encourage employees to bike or walk to work.  The building also has its own wastewater reclamation area; the recycled water is then used on the site’s landscaping.

The NRDC building in Santa Monica is a shining example of how a company can forego the need to build from scratch to obtain LEED certification.

Photo by OregonDOT

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