On April 22nd, Founding Farmers and VSAG celebrated the official award and certification of the restaurant as LEED® Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). With this award, Founding Farmers is the first USGBC certified restaurant of any type in the District of Columbia, and the first full-service, upscale-casual LEED Gold restaurant in the entire United States.
Marc Heisterkamp, Director of Commercial Real Estate for USGBC, presided over the Certification Ceremony and presentation of the official LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold plaque at the restaurant in Washington, DC, before an assembled crowd on Earth Day. More than 60 attendees to the event included the project design and construction teams, representatives from the USGBC, Mr. Robert Carlson, President of North Dakota Farmers Union, representatives from the International Monetary Fund as the restaurant’s landlord, and members of the media. Mr. Heisterkamp addressed the crowd and presented VSAG co-Founder Dan Simons and the restaurant management team with the official LEED Gold glass plaque, which will be mounted inside the restaurant. The event also included the unveiling of the official USGBC LEED Gold emblem storefront windows.
“The LEED certification ceremony is about every day that Founding Farmers restaurant is open and the diminished environmental impact that they will have due to their smart design and operation decisions,” said Heisterkamp. “Founding Farmers is at the nexus of two great market transformation efforts – tremendous leadership in designing and operating a restaurant to the highest green standards, and the focus on Farm-to-Table food, supporting American family farmers as part of a larger market transformation in sustainable agriculture.”
LEED for Commercial Interiors certifies high-performance green interiors that are healthy, productive places to work; are less costly to operate and maintain; and have a reduced environmental footprint. The LEED ratings scale includes: Certified, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
“We are very proud to have our restaurant be a model and an educational showpiece for our industry and for our guests,” said Dan Simons. “It is possible to have a successful and profitable business while demonstrating our commitment to environmentally friendly operations each and every day.”
The restaurant was designed to achieve LEED certification by award-winning Washington, DC-based CORE architecture + design, with Forrester Construction acting as General Contractor and EMSI as the LEED Consultant. The LEED Gold rating was achieved through a number of green design and construction feature that positively impact the project and the community, including:
- Energy Star Appliances for over 80% of all eligible appliances (by rated power). These include freezers, refrigerators, dish machines, cooking appliances and 4 LCD televisions.
- HVAC System – higher efficiency exceeding the Advanced Buildings Energy Benchmark, with CO2 sensors throughout the restaurant to monitor indoor air quality.
- Green Power – purchase of green power credits for 50% of electricity consumption.
- Materials and Finishes – More than 15% of construction materials are reclaimed, 45% of all materials were manufactured within 500 miles, and 90% of construction waste was recycled.
- Plumbing Fixtures & Water – from waterless urinals to low-flow lavs, Founding Farmers saves at least 192,168 gallons of water per year as compared to conventional restaurant design.
Founding Farmers also operates as a Certified Green Restaurant™, awarded by the Green Restaurant Association, and utilizes sustainable agriculture and direct farm sourcing for its menus, making it DC’s Greenest Restaurant.