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UL Congratulates NIKA Solutions, for Winning USGBC Award

NIKA, a facility operations management and engineering firm, utilized UL’s Sustainability Advisory Services to achieve LEED Platinum Certification for their Washington, DC, headquarters.

A conference table in a light-filled room

July 30, 2020

The U.S. Green Business Council National Capital Region (USGBC-NCR) announced the 2020 Community Leader Award winners on July 23 at its annual Midsummer Night’s Green celebration, highlighting local excellence in sustainable building design projects. UL customer NIKA Solutions received the Innovative Project of the Year for Interior Construction. 

The project, achieved LEED Platinum Certification with help from UL’s Sustainability Advisory Services, demonstrating impressive sustainability and energy reduction levels along the way. According to USGBC-NCR, “the project achieved 36% reduction in lighting power density and has submetered all lighting and plug loads. The project team also worked with the base building to upgrade water fixtures to bring them up to LEED efficiency levels, enabling the project team to achieve 40% reduction in water use. Material selection was also a primary consideration. The construction team helped achieve 94% construction waste diversion and 10% recycled and regional materials, in addition to ensuring that low-emitting materials were used on the project.”   

Known for their ingenuity and innovation, NIKA is a facility operations management and engineering firm that delivers comprehensive services and solutions to support the full life cycle of facilities. When NIKA decided to seek a new lease for their company headquarters, which serves the larger Washington, DC, metro area, they envisioned a cutting-edge space that would inspire creativity, facilitate collaboration and promote sustainability. The team was committed to achieving LEED v3 Platinum Certification for their office space and this drove the integrative design process from site selection to design details.

With sights set on LEED Platinum Certification, UL worked with the team to outline challenges and critical success factors early on. As an example, while the Towers building was LEED v2 Certified, in order to achieve Platinum Certification, the project team knew they would need to coordinate with the facility owners to revise HVAC systems, core restrooms and parking allocations to meet the latest LEED standards. Greenman-Pederson coordinated with the commissioning engineer and the technical team from USGBC to achieve Optimize energy performance for the HVAC system, which required modifying systems and settings that served the sixth-floor space. This integrative design approach enabled the team to achieve 28 points under the Energy and Atmosphere (EA) category without having to run an energy model.

One look at NIKA’s space and it’s obvious it was built to welcome and accommodate people. With bright, inviting spaces that incorporate the LEED v3 Platinum indoor environmental quality and materials and resources features designed with occupant health and wellness in mind, NIKA has gone above and beyond to design spaces that inspire and protect employees and guests and champion sustainability.

From the moment people enter the space, NIKA encourages mindfulness in the reception area with a biophilic logo design and a celebration of culture and place with architectural materials and access to daylight. The space invites a constant connection to nature with materials that lower glare and maximize natural light throughout the space. Baffles in the open ceiling system control noise levels while the white noise system allows for soft impacts for productivity among the open spaces. The sit/stand desk systems and a variety of ergonomic seating options support comfort and wellness. Healthy nourishment is encouraged with a pantry offering healthy snacks with nutrition labels.

Material selection was a primary consideration toward achieving sustainability. The construction team helped achieve 94% construction waste diversion and 10% recycled and regional materials in addition to ensuring low emitting materials were used on the project.

NIKA is known as a great place to work in Maryland. The company has earned a position on the Washington Post’s list of great places to work, as well as garnered favorable ratings on sites like Glassdoor. Certainly, their facility is a contributing factor and a symbol of the company’s unwavering commitment to people. NIKA proudly received official notification of LEED v3 Platinum Certification on July 11, 2019 and hopes to inspire their industry, the community and people to champion health, wellness and sustainability.

To learn more about the NIKA space and UL’s project involvement, take a look at our case study.

To learn more about USGBC-NCR and other Midsummer Night’s Green award winners, visit their website.