DOE Philadelphia Regional Office's New Facility Exemplifies Sustainability

April 30, 2003

DOE's Philadelphia Regional Office (PRO) recently moved into new office space which incorporates many sustainable design features. The new office is a model workspace and demonstrates that a Federal government field office with relatively small office space needs can include sustainability features into their design requirements. PRO Deputy Regional Director James M. Ferguson said, "The Philadelphia Regional Office wanted to show leadership to the stakeholders in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and to feature many of the available possibilities in sustainable design and products, along with energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies."

Beore PRO's lease for downtown office space expired on January 1, 2003, the General Services Administration (GSA) informed the PRO that they would need to consider relocating to historic buildings in downtown Philadelphia as a result of Executive Order 13006. The Executive Order encourages the location of Federal facilities on historic properties in our nation's central cities. Reusing existing buildings is also a good sustainable practice.

PRO worked closely with Douglas Dooling, Contract Officer, and Elizabeth Eagen, Realty Specialist, from GSA Region 3 Public Buildings Service, to find the appropriate site at the Wanamaker Building. The Wanamaker Building is an historic building next to the Philadelphia City Hall. The PRO and GSA found approximately 10,000 square feet in the Wanamaker Building that was a shell, which would be built out to PRO specifications keeping the original columns, beams, and cornices.

Deputy Regional Director Ferguson wanted the new office space to be a showcase for energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly technologies, equipment, and materials. The building team consisted of: Hillier Group (architect); Bala Consulting Engineers, Inc. (engineering firm); the Sullivan Company (construction firm); GSA Region 3 Public Building Service; and, the Amerimar Wanamaker Management Company.

The 24 PRO employees moved into the new office space on December 16, 2002. The new space includes the following energy efficient and environmentally-friendly features:

  • Power provided by 100 percent renewable energy from within the electric grid region of the PJM Interconnection, supplied by Community Energy, Inc. (47,452 kilowatthours per year of wind energy; 46,503 kilowatthours per year of biomass; and 949 kilowatthours per year of solar electric);

  • Compact flourescent lighting throughout the office, complemented by daylighting and motion sensors;

  • Window shading to reduce glare but allowing natural lighting in private offices and open conference areas;

  • Energy Star® computers, printers, copiers, and other equipment;

  • Carpeting with 100 percent recyclable material manufactured from 40 percent recycled-carpet tiles;

  • Linoleum produced from 100 percent natural materials for use in file rooms, storage areas, and other high-traffic areas;

  • Ceiling tiles produced from 60 percent recycled material and with a high acoustic rating.

  • Fabrics made from 100 percent recycled polyester for chairs and workstations;

  • Furniture from Knoll Inc., an environmental award-winning furniture manufacturer in Pennsylvania;

  • Paints containing low amounts of volatile organic compounds; and

  • A sound-masking system throughout the office to improve employee productivity.

The new office will be cost-effective for the life cycle of the 10-year lease, because the rent is lower in the Wanamaker Building than if the PRO had stayed in their previous office space. The premium paid for all of the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmentally-friendly features was less than $27,000 above the cost of standard products and materials. This project proves that sustainable design can be applied beyond major construction projects to the build out and furnishing of a government office. Even as a small commercial office space lease holder, you can be a champion for sustainable design.

For the sustainability procurement specifications, please see the PRO web site at For more information, please contact James Ferguson of DOE's Philadelphia Regional Office at 215-656-6977 or, or Beverly Dyer of FEMP at 202-586-7241 or