Case Study: U.S. Green Building Council

A Showcase of Sustainability: the USGBC’s newest headquarters offer a glimpse of all things green

U.S. Green Building Council

Since its inception, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has been the beacon for green building and design. It’s the lifeblood behind the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building certification program, which quickly set the stage for today’s best practices in green building. And, like the green movement itself, it has experienced rapid and sustained growth.

The present demand for LEED® certification for building projects is so high that the USGBC has expanded significantly in recent years to accommodate its growth. After just two years at its Dupont Circle headquarters in Washington, D.C., the USGBC outgrew its office space. But true to its mission, the sixteen year old non-profit embraced the opportunity to renovate a circa 1970s office building– and to become the first project to achieve LEED Platinum under the newest version of its green building rating system.

The redesign was a formidable task: gut two floors and create a collaborative office space that is also a showpiece for sustainable design, science and technology. The new office tripled the square footage of the previous location, adding an additional floor and nearly 75,000 square feet of functional space. “Every year, thousands of visitors, from government officials and tourists to manufacturers and schoolchildren, tour the facility to see how the latest green products and technology are working to create buildings that are better for occupants, the environment and the bottom line,” said Ana Ka’ahanui Manager, USGBC Headquarters Education & Events. The statistics tell an impressive story. When compared to a traditional office space, the new headquarters use up to 50% less energy and 40% less water. Plus, 95% of office waste is diverted from the landfill.

Green products that get the message out

U.S. Green Building Council

During the design and construction phase, the USGBC and Architecture firm Envision Design worked closely with green product manufacturers to specify products that made significant contributions to LEED criteria while meeting the classic aesthetic of the new space. Excel Dryer, Inc., manufacturer of the high-speed, energy-efficient XLERATOR® hand dryer has been a corporate member of the USGBC for nearly seven years and the XLERATOR has been a featured green product at USGBC headquarters. “Restroom fixture technology has evolved significantly in the last ten years,” said Ken Wilson, principal, Envision Design. “XLERATOR continues to be the specified hand dryer of choice at USGBC headquarters because it meets the aggressive energy and waste reduction objectives for designing state-of-the-art green restrooms.” Wilson specified XLERATOR XL-SB-1.1N stainless steel hand dryer. “In architecture, performance and design are inextricably linked,” added Wilson. “XLERATOR delivers both.”

Unlike conventional hand dryers, XLERATOR completely dries hands 3 times faster (in 10 seconds) and uses 80% less energy than conventional hand dryers. XLERATOR also delivers a 95% cost savings when compared to paper towels, eliminates maintenance and waste, while creating a more hygienic restroom environment. A peer reviewed Life Cycle Assessment (per ISO 14040 standards) of XLERATOR confirmed it reduces the carbon footprint of hand drying by 50-70% when compared to both traditional hand dryers and 100% recycled paper towels.

 A Virtual Address

XLERATOR is also featured on the Material Wall at the USGBC’s Learning Pathway, a corridor dedicated to showcasing each material or product used in the facility, its origin and utility. “This was an opportunity for us to create a living lab, where people can come and see the range of green building products that are available – and how to marry modern architecture with green design” added Ka'ahanui.

With this education-driven philosophy in mind, the USGBC recently embarked on the development of a virtual tour of its new headquarters. Working with Igloo Studios, a digital media firm that specializes in immersive 3D and video media, the building was modeled in 3D from CAD drawings and photographs using Google SketchUp.  The resulting presentation is a three-dimensional model with embedded videos, audio podcasts, 3D models of building products and materials, and text. “The interactive site will be used as a platform to tell a story about the space and create an infrastructure of green education,” said Ka’ahanui.

Excel Dryer and Sloan Valve, a manufacturer of water-efficient solutions for the plumbing industry, teamed up to provide the restroom course featured in the virtual tour titled “Next Generation Green Restroom Design.”  The AIA/CSI/GBCI CEU course emphasizes how high-efficiency hand dryers and plumbing fixtures can help reduce maintenance and cost while delivering the lowest environmental impact. “The course provides architects and specifiers with an overview of the newest technologies in high efficiency plumbing products and fixtures for state-of-the-art green restroom design,” said William Gagnon, vice president of marketing and key accounts, Excel Dryer, Inc.  The high-speed energy-efficient hand dryer manufacturer features a number of AIA/CEU endorsed courses on its web site,

The green movement shows no signs of slowing. With the industry projecting to soar to $60 billion in 2010, the USGBC and its more than 16,000 member companies are well poised to guide the next generation of builders, architects, specifiers, teachers and environmentalists in creating a sustainable future through cost-effective and energy-efficient buildings.

About Excel Dryer, Inc.

Excel Dryer, Inc. manufactures the industry's finest quality hand dryers and hair dryers, including the 'new industry standard' XLERATOR hand dryer. For more than 45 years, Excel's full line of American-made products has provided cost-effective hand dryers and hair dryers for schools, hospitals, airports, service stations, correctional facilities, restaurants, stadiums, movie theaters, health clubs, office buildings, factories, hotels, and many other commercial facilities. For more information about the XLERATOR, visit or call .