Late last month, Skanska USA, the U.S. division of Swedish construction firm Skanska AB, formally earned LEED for Commercial Interiors Platinum for its 24,000-square-foot offices on the 32nd floor of the Empire State Building. The project earned 44 points under the LEED-CI Version 2.2 rating system (which requires 42 points for a Platinum rating) and, after eight months of occupancy, the space is on track to achieve an expected 46 percent savings in energy costs.
A priority for the design team was boosting indoor air quality, and the offices feature an underfloor air system with operable diffusers that allow each individual workstation to control temperature. Skanska, which actually served as its own construction manager, recycled 80 percent of construction debris and was able to preserve 40 percent of the space’s non-structural interior components. Twenty-eight percent of all materials were sourced within 500 miles of the Empire State Building and 89 percent of the wood used in the build-out is Forest Stewardship Council-certified. The firm also earned a number of LEED credits for delivering natural light to 90 percent of the office space and providing 99 percent of its employees with exterior views.
Other LEED-standard design features include low-VOC paints and sealants and sensor-controlled lighting systems. Although Skanska did observe an initial cost premium to pursue LEED Platinum, it expects to recoup those costs within 5 years. Over the lifetime of its 15-year lease for the space with W&M Properties, Skanska is predicting a net positive return of $368,380.00 in energy cost savings.
The project team included Cook + Fox Architects, MEP engineers Cosentini, lighting designers Arup, LEED consultants Terrapin Bright Green, and design programming from Swanke Hayden Connell Architects. Many thanks to our friends at Capelin Communications for the terrific images of this important project, which is the first to earn Platinum under LEED for Commercial Interiors at the Empire State Building.