Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Plans Sustainable Facilities

April 30, 2003

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, is the world's premier disease detection agency and is charged with guarding the health of the American public. CDC is constantly faced with new challenges and responsibilities, including bio-terrorism research and increased environmental monitoring.

CDC's vision for the 21st Century is Healthy People in a Healthy World—Through Prevention. With renewed commitment to this vision, CDC has embarked on a major building and facilities Master Plan in support of its responsibility to protect the health of the public, while improving the working environment for its employees. Currently, the CDC has eight new buildings under construction in Atlanta. Additionally, three buildings in Atlanta and one in Fort Collins, Colorado, are being designed and scheduled to begin construction soon. The CDC Master Plan envisions many more laboratory and non-laboratory buildings in the future depending on Congressional authorization and appropriations. In addition to these efforts, there are many renovation and improvement projects underway or in the planning stages.

To further highlight its commitment to environmental and energy Executive Orders, the CDC Facilities Planning and Management Office (FPMO) joined the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2002. The principles of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED") program are being incorporated as guidelines for the design, construction, and maintenance of CDC's facilities in balance with security needs. Currently, two building projects have been registered with the USGBC and are on track to obtain LEED" certification. One of these is CDC's Building 21, which is a 12-story office building with a basement that encompasses approximately 336,000 square feet.

Artist rendering of CDC's Building 21 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The CDC's Building 21 in Atlanta, Georgia, is registered with the USGBC and is expected to obtain LEED" certification.

CDC's Building 21 is designed to improve the productivity and health of employees by providing an open environment that optimizes the use of natural daylight. Exterior sunshade fins control glare, and interior light shelves reflect light into the building to provide a balance between shading the building from heat gain and enabling more daylight to penetrate the interior. Energy initiatives aim to achieve energy reduction levels greater than 20 percent above standard codes by:

  • designing HVAC and refrigeration systems to meet or exceed ASHRAE-90.1,
  • optimizing building orientation and daylighting controls,
  • using high performance glazing and exterior shading elements, and
  • adopting Energy Star. roof criteria.

Other features of the building include:

  • continuous carbon dioxide, humidity, and temperature monitoring,

  • pollutant monitoring in building systems to improve indoor air quality,

  • zero use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) in HVAC and refrigeration equipment,

  • reduction of light pollution to the neighboring community,

  • 30 percent water reduction through low-flow fixtures and sensors,

  • use of building products that contain recycled content, and

  • reduction of construction waste by 50 percent compared to conventional means.

As a further commitment to the environment, the CDC has begun a major recycling program for white and mixed paper, aluminum cans and tabs, type 1 and 2 plastics, cardboard, and non-alkaline batteries. In support of this effort, CDC employees have been provided information on the proper method to dispose of, or recycle, items used in their work. Additionally, FPMO has recycled worn carpet that would have normally gone to a landfill, and installed recycled-content carpet in its facilities.

The FPMO considers it a major responsibility to protect the environment to safeguard the health of the public. FPMO's aim is to do this by fostering the principles of sustainability in construction and maintenance as well as security in the development of the built environment. The result is promoting environments that are healthier, safer, and more productive places to live and work.

For more information, please contact Julia Chlarson at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FPMO, at 404-498-2645 or