With the construction of its current National Office, completed in 2007, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) became a true pioneer in environmental sustainability as the first nonprofit association to hold a
Gold LEED building certification in Maryland history.
From design to construction, ASHA focused on sustainability throughout the whole building via five key areas of human and environmental health:
- Sustainable site development
- Water savings
- Energy efficiency
- Materials selection
- Indoor environmental quality
ASHA’s goal was to develop a visually stimulating and healthy facility that would foster a productive and creative work environment while remaining committed to the global environment. The building not only benefits staff, but also serves as an example for guests and the community.
In building its five-story office, ASHA supported the regional economy and reduced the environmental impacts of construction by incorporating more than 64% of regionally manufactured materials, as well as more than 77% of regionally extracted or harvested materials.
More than 75% of the construction, demolition, and land-clearing debris was diverted away from landfills by redirecting materials to recycle and reuse facilities.
The following are examples of green features found in ASHA’s National Office.
- The HVAC system, coupled with higher-efficiency glass and lower-energy light fixtures, yields a 23% energy savings.
- The building’s white roof reduces cooling costs by more than 11%, compared with a black roof.
- Occupancy sensors turn lights off when a space is unoccupied, reducing electricity consumption.
- Lower-flow sink fixtures, water-efficient shower heads, and dual-flush/low-flow toilet fixtures and urinals reduce water use 42%.
Indoor environment quality
- The property is smoke free, both inside and outside the building.
- The copy center has a dedicated exhaust system, isolating any fumes from the rest of the building.
- Walk-off mats (up to 35% recycled content) inside entrances help limit pollutant contamination of the building.
Natural light and
- More than 70% of regularly occupied spaces receive natural light.
- 90% of regularly occupied spaces have direct outside views.
Recycled content products
- Much of the building’s structural and finish materials, as well as flooring, are made partially of recyclable, renewable, postconsumer and/or postindustrial content.
- Building accessories, such as bicycle racks, restroom partitions, and mirrors are made from recycled materials.
- ASHA provides collection and storage of recyclable materials.
- Plywood, millwork, doors, lockers, and benches are made of materials certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which encourages environmentally responsible harvested products.
- Architectural millwork and cabinetry are constructed of bamboo (a rapidly renewable, fast-growing grass that can be harvested in 3–5 years).
- Condensate water from the HVAC system is used for all irrigation, and no potable water is used.
- Local drought-resistant vegetation is planted throughout the grounds.