Amazon HQ2 Will Aim to Reach LEED Platinum


Almost a year to the date when Arlington, Virginia, was selected to be home to a new Amazon headquarters (HQ2), Arlington officials are now requesting that the facility go beyond its intended LEED Gold certification.

The decision to strive for a LEED Platinum energy certification came during a Site Plan Review Committee meeting last month, after the company’s designs revealed a low LEED Gold efficiency ranking.

About the Project

On Nov. 13, 2018, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Amazon would be investing approximately $2.5 billion into what would be its new headquarters. Located in National Landing—an area that includes parts of Pentagon City and Crystal City in Arlington County, in addition to Potomac Yard in the City of Alexandria—was selected after a 14-month-long competitive site selection process.

JBG SMITH (Chevy Chase, Maryland) was chosen to be a partner to Amazon in the development and housing of the HQ2 location.

The HQ2 design involves a 2.1 million-square-foot office complex complete with two 22-story office towers and an additional 67,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The buildings’ rooftops are to be filled with greenery and some are slated to even feature dog parks. In total, Amazon plans to occupy more than 4 million square feet of energy-efficient office space. HQ2 renderings and blueprints also reveal various ground-level green spaces, bicycle and parking spaces, and a 12,500-square-foot daycare center.

Curbed reported that earlier this year, Virginia lawmakers approved hundreds of millions in tax incentives for the project’s development. Northam also announced last month that Virginia signed an agreement with Dominion Energy to purchase 30% of the all energy used by the state government’s buildings from renewable sources. The agreement comes only two months after Arlington committed to reaching carbon neutrality for all public and private buildings by 2050.

“Under the partnership, Dominion Energy will supply the Commonwealth with 420 megawatts of renewable energy,” the utility company wrote in a statement. “When combined with previously announced solar projects, the power produced is enough to meet the equivalent of 45% of the state government’s annual energy use.”

Additional work for the project includes extending the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway 1.1 miles in order to connect the City of Alexandria through Pentagon City in Arlington. The first segment design is slated for completion by the summer of 2020. Designs, pricing and contract documents for a new Potomac Yard Metrorail station are also expected to be finalized by the end of 2019 with completion of the station envisioned for 2022.

Earlier this year, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University—more commonly known as Virginia Tech—announced a partnership with data-driven real estate investment firm Lionstone Investments for the building of a new $1 billion innovative campus. The Innovation Campus is part of the tech-talent pipeline package created by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and approved by the General Assembly, which was originally intended to lure Amazon HQ2 to the location. Now, the Innovation Campus will neighbor HQ2.

As a part of the $750 million incentives package, the state of Virginia plans to invest millions of dollars in the campus project.

“We’re extremely pleased to have this opportunity, in partnership with Lionstone, to establish the Innovation Campus in the heart of the National Landing technology district,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. The Tech Talent Investment Program is also receiving up to $1.1 billion to more than double the annual number of graduates receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and related fields.

Until construction is completed, there are currently about 300 Amazon employees working out of a 120,000-square-foot leased space in Crystal City. However, that number is expected to grow to 400 by the end of the year and will continue toward its goal of 25,000 people over the next 15 years.

What’s Happening Now

During a Site Plan Review Committee meeting on Oct. 14, Amazon Vice President of Global Real Estate John Schoettler announced that Amazon HQ2 would be striving for a LEED Platinum energy certification.

“We are working to secure renewable energy for the campus which means our Arlington buildings will operate on 100% renewable energy by 2030,” said Schoettler.

For the project to reach LEED Platinum, the U.S. Green Building Council will look at the structure’s sustainability, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials and resources, as well as energy and atmosphere. Based on points given from a 0-100, Amazon HQ2 will need at least 80 points to be awarded the Platinum status.

To achieve these goals, Amazon is looking at forgoing natural gas in its kitchens and cafeterias, greener landscaping and upping its percentage of electric vehicle parking spaces and charging stations. The company is also considering building an offsite solar or wind farm to power the facilities with renewable energy.

According to JBG Smith’s Vice President of Development, Matt Ginivan, should design plans become finalized by the end of the year, construction for the Amazon HQ2 would begin in early 2020.

Amazon anticipates that HQ2 will be completed by 2023.


Tagged categories: Color + Design; Color + Design; Commercial Buildings; Commercial Construction; Commercial contractors; Design - Commercial; Design build; Energy codes; Energy efficiency; Green building; LEED; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Project Management; U.S. Green Building Council

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.