September 4, 2019
Located in Lausanne, Switzerland, Olympic House, the new headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) received LEED Platinum Certification in June 2019. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Olympic House project earned the most points of any LEED v4 Building Design and Construction (BD+C) project to date.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) was a priority for the IOC when developing the building. Recognizing the risk for the presence of hazardous chemicals and poor IAQ to trigger negative health impacts among building occupants, the IOC undertook measures to address IAQ throughout the design and construction process. Their focus on IAQ enabled them to obtain LEED and Swiss Sustainable Construction Standard (SNBS) points for Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) in their LEED Certification submission by identifying low-emitting products used for construction and building interiors. This led to them receiving the maximum points in the LEED Low-Emitting Interior criteria.
“LEED v4 IEQ requirements are particularly rigorous and required the project team to review volatile organic compounds (VOC) levels for all construction products and furniture items,” said Lise Van Long, Corporate Sustainability Manager of IOC. “This required a significant investment of time and resources to review product specifications, collaborate with suppliers to modify their formulations in some cases, and carry out specific VOC testing. Well worth the effort, the result is a building that supports a healthy indoor environment.”
The selection of UL GREENGUARD Certified finishings and furnishings played a role in streamlining the IOC’s efforts to select low-emitting products. The team issued a request for proposal prioritizing a variety of criteria including design, user comfort, maintenance, sustainability and cost. They solicited responses and ultimately selected furnishings from multiple vendors, 10 of which had earned UL GREENGUARD Certification. By selecting UL GREENGUARD Certified products, the IOC knew they had identified finishings and furnishings that meet some of the world’s most rigorous emissions standards.
Vitra was one manufacturer whose GREENGUARD Certified products were selected for use in Olympic House. Vitra is dedicated to sustainably improving the quality of homes, offices and public spaces through the power of design. Since 2009, Vitra has certified a wide range of its products to the stringent GREENGUARD Certification. “Ensuring our products are low emitting is just one aspect of our commitment to quality and sustainability. We are pleased that our GREENGUARD Certified furniture products were selected to contribute comfort, long-lasting aesthetic design and quality in Olympic House,” said Barbara Friedli, Head of Corporate & Brand Communications at Vitra.
A champion of healthier, sustainable products, UL operates the UL GREENGUARD Certification program and is continually expanding its services to support architects, designers, manufacturers and other stakeholders to pursue sustainability through efforts like earning LEED Certification.
“We congratulate the IOC on their new headquarters earning LEED Platinum certification,” said Alberto Uggetti, vice president and general manager for UL’s Environment division. “We are very proud that their choice to select UL GREENGUARD Certified products helped them in this accomplishment and showed their commitment to occupant health and wellness.”
The USGBC built the IEQ criteria with people in mind, inspired by the desire to create better indoor spaces for occupants. According to Kay Killmann, Managing Director for GBCI Europe, “Olympic House provides a great example of exceptional achievement when stakeholders work together.” He continued, “LEED sets some of the most rigorous standards to encourage good indoor environmental quality in buildings, and the IOC demonstrated their commitment to occupant wellbeing by specifying UL GREENGUARD Certification and working with manufacturers like Vitra that are also committed to contributing to optimised IEQ. Collaboratively, we can achieve high performing indoor spaces in every aspect of sustainability.”
IEQ and the other sustainability features of the Olympic House are representative of the future of green building and the healthy indoor environments that protect nature as well as human wellbeing. By achieving LEED Platinum certification, IOC sets the pace for excellence in the race to construct more sustainable buildings. View all UL GREENGUARD Certified products at https://spot.ul.com/.