February 24, 2022

LWCC Leading the Way with LEED Certification

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LWCC’s purpose to help Louisiana thrive comes alive as the organization’s office becomes a Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certification is a global symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership. LWCC has chosen to be proactive in this environmentally based endeavor by modeling how other businesses in the state can address sustainability.

Prior to starting the recently completed renovation project, LWCC had a goal of designing a building that enhanced the lives of not only those who work here, but also those in the surrounding community. LWCC sought the expertise of local talent EskewDumezRipple to assist in creating a space that could implement environmentally aware practices while providing a workplace supportive of staff health, and chose to use LEED certification as a rigorous framework to ensure best practices were being followed.

“Our collaboration with EskewDumezRipple helped us consider best practices in sustainability and environmental awareness,” says Gretchen Hofeling, SVP and Chief Financial Officer. “They were able to provide the technical skill to execute getting the building remodeled, while also helping with more forward-looking pieces such as employee health, the opportunity to use Louisiana’s resources appropriately, and the consideration of sustainable practices.”

A LEED certification breaks up all the main areas of impact that buildings have on people, the surrounding community, and the planet in categories such as carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health, and indoor environmental quality. LEED certification provides a measurable framework to help buildings save money, improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions, and create healthier places for people. Because embodied carbon and operational carbon combined are responsible for 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually, more efficient buildings play a critical part in addressing climate change.

“We were aspiring to a great level of energy savings with this project. The less energy used the less climate change inducing gasses are being emitted. So, the environmentally safe consideration of this project not only benefits LWCC, but the planet as well.” says Z Smith, project architect from EskewDumezRipple.

LWCC was able to achieve ‘Silver’ level certification through various features that were strategically implemented to support occupant health and indoor environmental quality. By opening the floorplan, atriums were able to be constructed at varying levels to provide a staircase from floor to floor. This design feature encourages employees to benefit from the movement of a staircase versus an elevator. A heating, cooling, and ventilation system upgrade improved the sustainability of the building by reducing energy usage to a third of what it was originally using. The new system brings in fresh air at a much higher rate than what is considered standard and does not recirculate air within the building. This has become a critical feature through the current pandemic, increasing the amounts of fresh, clean air in the building.

The leading-edge design also helps reinforce LWCC’s mission to better Louisiana one business and one worker at a time by cultivating a sustainable workplace for LWCC employees and improving the environment of the Baton Rouge community. But beyond that, the designation reinvigorates our Louisiana Loyal movement as we continue to find new and exciting ways to celebrate and elevate our home state. Moving forward, LWCC hopes to be the catalyst for an increased interest in sustainability by leading as an example for other businesses across the state.

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