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2017 PROJECT Award Winners

In 2017, the awards listed below were available for application by the USGBC-NCR community.  Projects were required to be located in the USGBC-NCR region, and where certification was required, projects were to have been awarded certification between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017.

New Construction

Applied to projects certified under the USGBC’s LEED for Building Design and Construction rating system, including New Construction, Core & Shell, Schools, Retail, Hospitality, Data Centers, Warehouses & Distribution Centers, Mixed Use, and Healthcare.

Awards were not given in all categories.  This is done when there were no submissions, or were not submissions which met, in the judging panel’s opinion, the standard of excellence and innovation that the Leadership Awards are intended to recognize.

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New Contruction


WINNER - Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School 

Select Notable Application Excerpts
  • "The Mundo Verde campus is a framework for learning expeditions about sustainability and natural systems. Environmental sustainability is integrated into all aspects of the school’s curriculum and operations. By undertaking comprehensive studies of real-world issues, students learn to make connections and understand diverse perspectives."

  • "The project extends beyond LEED through numerous sustainable performance matrices, but most specifically with the rigors and intensity with which the expeditionary educational curriculum is completely interwoven and employed in the building and campus. Conceptually, this is modeled from the AuSSI-SA Education of Sustainability Rubrics and Core Indicators for Schools – South Australian teaching for Effective Learning framework."

  • ...A "4th grade expedition canvassed the neighborhood about solar panels and how they would be good for the community and the school. The expedition is resulting in a grant application to continue greening the school!"

  • "Facing an antiquated 1920’s DCPS surplus building, expansion space needs, a 100% asphalt covered site, and stringent DC Water stormwater management requirements, MV’s resultant challenges include a major facilities renovation and new construction on the per capita facilities budget allotments established by the District’s public charter school system. Budget restraints are not unique to this project, but comparatively the team had around fifteen percent of the values DCPS spends on their own USGBC Silver Certified public school facilities."

  • "Opening a new charter school within any neighborhood requires initiating connections, making friends, keeping promises and intertwining roots together. Mundo Verde integrates the students, families (from all Wards of the city) and local neighbors into every facet of planning the new school and celebration of landmark moments in its realization."

  • "The existing school site was originally paved practically 100% with asphalt, so naturally the first design gathering was a Community + School Sidewalk Chalk Charrette! This became the vehicle to introduce the school to the community and a means of collecting everyone’s aspirations for the project. Equipped with big chalk and even bigger imaginations, students, parents, and neighbors put their thoughts to asphalt and imagined the future of their new community school. Much of the site programming, including the community gardens and expeditionary learning stations, are tangible results of this activity."

  • "Working with Casey Trees of Washington DC, the campus is becoming a woodland park within the neighborhood. The campus was carefully designed to integrate maximum shade tree cover for play areas with 40 indigenous and fruit bearing trees. Students, families and community again celebrated with planting and tilling of the earth!"

  • "Community Compost Co-op and School Garden Market: The Co-op engages the community by involving families and neighbors as well as the kitchen. MV will compost kitchen scraps in bins to use in the school garden. The school garden in turn feeds students and the community through the school garden market."

  • "Rain garden planting: MV was granted a RiverSmart Schools Award by the DOEE. This spring MV worked with the Anacostia Watershed Society to involve the 3rd grade in their spring Water expedition, in planning and planting a rain garden in the school yard. Students conducted water experiments and studied the impacts of erosion in the schoolyard leading up to the planting of the rain garden. They also made signs explaining the importance of a rain garden to our community."

  • "Electric Car Charging Stations: MV is currently receiving a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments grant to help advance the Electric Vehicle/Plug-In Electric Vehicle infrastructure in the United States."

  • "The kitchen at Mundo Verde has been a place with a strong focus on serving healthy meals, and preparing snacks that celebrate local food and act as a connector to the classroom. MV works with a local vendor to supply school meals, keeping dollars local. ..This school year MV had kindergarten students work directly with the food service team to study how to beautify the kitchen through art and design. Partnering with local artists, this year MV students studied healthy food and designed final projects that celebrated building a more cheerful space and tackled a “problem.”"

  • "MV is currently developing a procurement model rewarding local purchases, and networking with farmers and exploring goals for more sustainable purchasing....With the ability to now cook in house, teachers and food educators are aligning lessons with menus, celebrating seasonality and food grown in their garden. Witness to their bilateral education model, MV is also creating activities for celebrating the diverse student population by using family recipes and cultural traditions in the kitchen."

Project Team

Studio Twenty Seven - Architect
Tensquare - Owner's Representative
Christopher Consultants - Civil Engineer
Ehlert/Bryan - Structural Engineer
CS Consulting Engineers - MEP Engineer
Interface Engineering - Commissioning Agent

Carvalho + Good Landscape Architecture - Landscape Architect of

Siteworks Studio - Landscape Architect

Next Step Design - Food Service Consultant

Hush Acoustics - Acoustic Consultant


42,395 GSF


LEED v3 BD+C Platinum (80 points)



Daily Visitors


Additional Images and Juror Comments

WINNER - Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School 

Honorable Mention - MGM National Harbor

Project Team

SmithGroupJJR - Architect of Record

Hamilton Anderson Associates, Inc. - Associate Architect of Record
HKS Architects, Inc. - Design Architect
Cagley & Associates, Inc.
- Structural Engineer of Record

Mahan Rykiel Associates, Inc. - Landscape Architect - Exterior and Interior
Soltesz, Inc. - Civil Engineering
Whiting-Turner - Construction


1,034,783 GSF

LEED v3 BD+C Gold (68 points)



Daily Visitors


Select Notable Application Excerpts
  • "MGM National Harbor features a twenty-three story, three-hundred and eight room luxury hotel with amenities
    including: fine dining from local and celebrity chefs, world-class entertainment, luxury retail shops, and a three thousand-seat theater and a resort spa."

  • "Given the project’s location and usage, sustainable strategies sought to transform this once contaminated site into a major destination, easily accessible by public transportation, without compromising the local micro-climate or regional ecosystems. Using test pits and soil borings the extent of the petroleum-impacted soil was identified, then subsequently handled and disposed successfully remediating the brownfield condition."

  • "In order to help reduce the transportation impacts of the guests and employees of MGM National Harbor, the Project Team worked in conjunction with the local transportation authority to enhance public transit services. A new transportation stop, located directly adjacent to the MGM National Harbor has been constructed to expand public transportation routes and frequency."

  • "To help preserve and improve the water quality in the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, MGM National Harbor integrates design and function with the adjacent park for stormwater quantity control. Our design contains on site a minimum of 25% of stormwater runoff from a 2-year storm, using approximately 67,000 SF of green roof over portions of the parking garage, two bio-swales built to treat the landscaped area at the west end, and cisterns to retain water for irrigation of landscaping, toilet flushing, and cooling the buildings mechanical systems."

  • "In an effort to both reduce the stormwater runoff and improve water efficiency, the design includes two cisterns totaling 700,000 gallons, on the lowest level of the building. The cisterns capture the rain water from the 335,460 square feet flat roof or 7 football fields. The collected storm water is stored, treated and used for drip irrigation, flushing toilets and urinals and cooling tower makeup water."

  • "The project has a combined heat and power tri-generation plant which is comprised of a natural gas generator, absorption chiller, and heat recovery boiler. This produces electricity, as well as chilled and hot water for use on-site. The central chilled water plant also includes 6 - 700 ton highly efficient magnetic bearing centrifugal chillers that operate in parallel and are designed for variable flow to maximize energy efficiency. An innovative building controls optimization software tracks and predicts building loads to actively adjust the efficiency of the central plant. The system automatically decides how many pumps, chillers and cooling towers to operate to
    minimize kWh energy consumption."

  • "Leveraging the purchasing power of a project this size, the team asked every manufacturer considered to
    be incorporated in the design, to provide a material ingredient disclosure or Health Product Declaration disclosing the chemical inventory of the product to at least 1,000 ppm. Examples of products that fully disclosed their chemical inventory that were implemented in the final project include toilet accessories, joint sealants, ceiling tiles, ceramic tile and grout, solid surfacing, linoleum, both foam and batt insulation, roofing systems, paint, and drywall.
    These are ubiquitous products in vast quantities, ultimately driving the market to embrace material transparency."

Additional Images and Juror Comments


WINNER - Nixon Peabody

Select Notable Application Excerpts
  • "In addition to achieving LEED-CI Platinum, the project meets the 2030 challenge. Nixon Peabody has installed photovoltaic panels on the roof of the building that supplement their power use as well as that of a local low-income housing project at no cost to the residents."

  • "The tenant space was reduced from 92,000 SF in Nixon Peabody’s previous office to an efficient 66,000 SF in the new space—while also allowing for future expansion. The reduction in perimeter office sizes and centralized amenities, affords the opportunity to have more public spaces along the window line that benefit all employees."

  • "Three-story living wall, equivalent to five 14 ft trees, is irrigated through reclaimed HVAC condensation, naturally filters the air, reducing occupant exposure to potentially hazardous chemical and biological particulate contamination."

  • "The contractor’s preconstruction team worked hand-in-hand with the design team to provide cost analysis and budgeting, simultaneously with design concepts."

  • "All materials were reviewed against the Architect’s Precautionary List to minimize the use of substances of concern to human health in the building products specified."

  • "Lighting and ceilings in these support areas are designed to be flexible to accommodate future reconfiguration through the use of demountable partitions. The fully connected lighting load is reduced by 40% over building code and meets the AIA’s rigorous 2030 Challenge energy reduction goals."

  • "Height-adjustable desks, treadmill phone rooms, and other fixed standing-height meeting places are available to all staff."

  • "The building (LEED EBOM) was chosen because of its location in a densely populated urban neighborhood with many local amenities that encourage employees to use active means of transportation. It has a walk score of 97, a transit score of 100, a bike score of 89, and a Capital Bikeshare station within one block."

Project Team

Nixon Peabody, LLP - Client
Perkins+Will - Architect 
DAVIS Construction - Contractor
GHT Limited - MEP Engineer
Pat Kazinski - Lighting
CMS - Audio Visual
Hush Acoustics - Acoustics


65,500 GSF


LEED v3 ID+C Platinum (84 Points)




Daily Visitors
Additional Images and Juror Comments

“Far from designing for us, our design team has done an incredible job of listening, working collaboratively and bringing out the best in us in the design for our new office. They’ve enabled and emboldened us to lead the legal industry in reimagining physical space for 21st century law, and it’s been a joy to watch our culture, personality and brand manifest itself in innovative, energetic, responsible design.”
— Jeff Lesk, Managing Partner of the DC Office

WINNER - Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School 

Honorable Mention - American University at 4401 Connecticut Avenue

Project Team

AU Design & Construction

Gensler - Architect

GHT - MEP Engineering

Coakley-Williams - Contractor


70,692 GSF

LEED v3 ID+C Gold (68 points)



Daily Visitors


Select Notable Application Excerpts
  • "WAMU, the national public radio station, broadcasts from American University and occupies the first through third floors, a portion of the fourth floor, and the lower (terrace) level; totaling approximately 40,000 square feet. The upper three floors are occupied by AU departments, including University Communications and Marketing."

  • "An ergonomic presentation is used prepared to educate employees on the benefits of improving ergonomics and the importance of individuals’ comfort and productivity. A survey was also circulated, which will be conducted annually, to determine the comfort levels of the employees and allow Human Resources to address concerns related to ergonomics."

  • "To achieve cooperation across disciplines within the project, the team worked closely with the systems integrators, WAMU technicians, the MEP consultant, and acousticians to develop a plan that would achieve the wide range of functional requirements inherent to a radio station studio, as well as create a pleasant place to work. These parties and stakeholders were involved up-front to achieve the best possible results."

  • "As future changes in development planning, building use, organization change, and structure occur, studios can adapt to different purposes because of flexible design. The workplace was designed with universal workplace standards to allow for groups to grow and shrink without needing to re-work the walls and furniture."

Additional Images and Juror Comments