ADB earns LEED Gold

21 years after the fact, the Asian Development Bank earns LEED Gold!

ADB’s gold standard


The Asian Development Bank Headquarters (ADB HQ) was certified gold for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). To do this, ADB HQ had to score between 60 and 79 points distributed over five criteria: sustainable sites; water efficiency; indoor environmental quality; materials and resource management; and energy efficiency. Ken. L. Chee and Chatiya Nantham of ADB’s Office of Administrative Services (OAS) break down the bank’s 63-point total:

• Maintaining a sustainable site: 11/17
ADB HQ was given points for the heat-reducing trees in the compound’s open car parks; the high solar reflectance index of its paved roadway; and the environment-friendly transportation options available to its employees, such as immediate access to public transportation and in-company carpooling.

• Practicing water efficiency: 9/13
ADB HQ uses water for the care of its plants, the cleaning of its facilities, the preparation of food, and the operation of its toilets and showers. While water consumption increased from 2009 to 2010 because of additional staff and consultants, use of potable water decreased.

All of the water from ADB HQ’s sewage treatment plant is used.

Furthermore, the new rainwater harvesting facility, which has reduced runoff by 30%, provides water for ADB HQ’s fountain and for the cleaning of the compound.

• Improving energy efficiency for a cleaner atmosphere: 26/27
Changes implemented in the last six years — including new controls for air-conditioning, lighting, and computer systems — helped save 33 million kilowatt hours, equivalent to 18,000 tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions or about two years’ worth of electricity.

• Saving material and resources: 5/5
ADB has policies on solid waste management and sustainable purchasing. It employs best practices and safe operating procedures to prevent the release of pollutants; optimize the use of resources; reduce waste generation; and reuse, recycle, treat, and dispose all waste properly.

• Enriching indoor environmental quality: 6/8
The air people breathe inside the ADB HQ has passed through seven stages of filtration, ensuring that each inhalation is free of building material toxins, tobacco smoke, pesticides, and other chemicals. The process is so refined that aroma compounds in perfumes might not survive filtration.

Air is purged and replaced at the ADB HQ thrice a week to maintain the quality of indoor air. ADB HQ has been smoke-free since the building opened and the banks has stepped up its clean-air efforts by constructing two smoking lounges in the courtyard, both of them 10 meters away from ingress and egress. The result of all these measures: the air inside ADB HQ is above Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.

• Incorporating innovation in design (optional category): 6/6
Points in this optional category were awarded for exceeding LEED requirements. ADB HQ received a full six points due to the following:

100% disposal of durable goods away from landfills through the bank’s donation and sale of used assets; purchasing and using environment-friendly materials 70% of the time; having roads, sidewalks, courtyards, and parking areas that are either shaded or have high solar reflectance; and having in place an environmental management system certified under ISO 14001.
Total: 63 points

Dollars and cents

ADB’s savings from green initiatives in 2011 (in US$)

• $84,592.67 for electricity
• $7,484.73 for water
• $13,768.34 for paper
• $29,064.33 for waste recovery
• $134,910.07 = Total savings for 2011

Source: ADB

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