AGU Headquarters Net Zero Renovation to Begin March 2017

December 22, 2016

AGU Net Zero Renovation to begin March 2017

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) announced that they will be undertaking a major renovation of their headquarters in Washington, DC, with the hope of bringing the building to net zero status. This net zero renovation project is set to begin construction in March 2017.

The 62,000 square foot office building, located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, will strive to keep its historic look while upgrading its systems to reach the net zero goal. Net zero buildings use only as much energy as they are able to generate on-site.

The AGU headquarters net zero renovation project will include the addition of an 11-foot-6-inch high photovoltaic array to generate electricity for the building. LED lighting will be used throughout the building to save energy. A sewer heat exchange system will gather heat from the municipal wastewater system under Florida Ave, and radiant cooling will be used to save money on air conditioning.

Other features will include a green wall to reduce energy loads and improve indoor air quality, a water cistern to collect rainwater from the roof and condensate lines and store it for use in toilets and irrigation, and several high-performance building exterior upgrades, including triple-pane glass and dynamic glass shading.

AGU Net Zero Renovation

“AGU strives to be an innovative leader and partner that advances and communicates science’s power to ensure a sustainable future – which must include re-envisioning our workplaces as livable, interconnected environments that are energy efficient, minimize our carbon footprint in the public space, and provide a healthy and dynamic ecosystem for our members and staff,” said AGU’s Executive Director and CEO Chris McEntee.

“It must also provide an opportunity to pave the way for others looking to incorporate similar approaches and designs into new and existing facilities throughout our city.”

The net zero renovation has been going through an 18-month review process, with final approvals coming earlier this month. “This innovative project for D.C. is a significant action for sustainability and an opportunity to achieve carbon neutral status,” said Daniel Warwick, ANC 2B Commissioner and chair of the Zoning, Preservation, and Development Committee.

“We’re excited for the building to be an educational destination for the Dupont Circle neighborhood and visitors, and pave the way for similar efforts across the city and the nation.”

The renovated headquarters building will provide a collaborative, state-of-the-art conference center and work space for AGU members, the public, and staff. As a scientific destination in the nation’s capital, the new building will include an interactive public exhibit that highlights the impacts and innovations of Earth and space science.

AGU hopes to be able to showcase real-world scientific advancement through innovative sustainable technology with this renovation. The project is expected to be a model for reducing the carbon and environmental impacts of business operations in a cost-effective and replicable way.

The AGU project will be the first-ever existing commercial building renovation in the District to reach net zero.



    Dawn Killough

    has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon.