Top 5 LEED Gold Projects in Washington, DC

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The world’s first LEED Platinum City, a designation Washington, DC received in 2017, has maintained its position as one of the top-ranked markets in the United States for sustainability practices. Sustainability, green building and social equity are high on the administration’s priority list as the District of Columbia aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The district also leads in terms of gross square footage of LEED-certified spaces per capita. Last year, in the US Green Building Council’s Top 10 list for LEED, DC had over 39 square feet per capita and over 23 million total square feet certified. The first half of 2021 increased that total by an additional 4 million square feet of office space, and the multi-family sector had 17 more communities achieving LEED certification at various levels.

In the list below, we highlight the top 5 LEED Gold certified projects in the first three quarters of 2021, based on data provided by USGBC. The ranking is based on the number of units, from highest to lowest.

name of the project Number of units Rating system Address Certified date Certification level
Watermark at Buzzard Point 453 LEED-NC v2009 1900 Half Street SW 02/09/2021 Gold
A501 327 LEED-NC v2009 1501 Harry Thomas Road NE 09/29/2021 Gold
The Kelvin 312 LEED HOMES MR v2010 1250 Half Street SE 09/07/2021 Gold
555 194 LEED-NC v2009 555 E Street SW 08/02/2021 Gold
Blackbird 167 LEED-NC v2009 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue SE 02/09/2021 Gold

1. Watermark at Buzzard Point

Watermark at Buzzard Point

The 453-unit community at 1900 Half St. is a prime example of adaptive reuse. Watermark at Buzzard Point replaces a 1970s office building that sat empty for several years before Douglas Development and PTM Partners brought it back to life. The two co-developers built the asset with the help of a $22 million construction loan backed by United Bank, according to data from Yardi Matrix. The property received the LEED Gold award in February with a scorecard of 60 points.

The very act of repurposing a massive structure instead of dumping thousands of tons of concrete had a substantial positive environmental impact. Of course, the site has been carefully assessed and the developers have selected green building materials, minimizing water and energy consumption, prioritizing indoor air quality. The project includes water-efficient landscaping, low-emission and reusable building materials, quality control for stormwater design, and alternative transportation.

READ ALSO: Spotlight on Watermark, DC’s distinct waterfront development

2. A501

The Foulger-Pratt project at 1501 Harry Thomas Way Northeast was built with the backing of a $67.5 million construction loan also issued by United Bank. In September, it received LEED Gold certification with a scorecard of 62 points.

The mixed-use project, delivered in the spring of 2021, includes 9,200 square feet of commercial floor space, as well as 33 affordable units. One unique aspect is that the 1.8-acre site is enveloped on two sides by the NoMa Parks Foundation’s Alethia Tanner Park, which the developer helped restore. Specifically, the developer donated 23,000 square feet to the foundation to expand the NoMa Green to the east. This allowed the NoMa Business Improvement District to eliminate the Z-bend on the adjacent Metropolitan Branch Trail and make room for a dog park.

Community heating and hot water is electric and units are equipped with programmable thermostats and keyless entry. There is bike storage on site which shows support for alternative transport.

3. The Kelvin

The Kelvin

The property at 1250 Half St. Southeast has 312 units and 60,000 square feet of retail space. It is co-owned by Jair Lynch Development Partners and MacFarlane Partners and, according to Yardi Matrix, currently has an undisclosed loan drawn by Jair Lynch Development Partners in 2016 on a $107.2 million construction line of credit. funded by Pacific Coast Capital Partners. LEED Gold certification was awarded in September with a scorecard of 66 points. Additionally, it also holds an Energy Star certification.

Notable green features include electric heat and hot water, electric vehicle charging station, bike storage, recycling program, and walking and biking trails. Not exactly a green amenity, but a unique amenity is the rooftop pool overlooking Nationals Stadium.



City Partners and Potomac Investment Properties own the luxury development at 555 East St. Southwest, and they built the 194-unit community with the help of a $62.2 million Citibank-backed construction loan , according to data from Yardi Matrix. The property achieved its LEED Gold certification in February with a scorecard of 60 points.

The 11-story residential component sits atop a 10,500 square foot ground floor retail unit. The unit mix includes 58 apartments reserved for seniors and 136 for families. Its sustainable design elements include an energy efficient building envelope, native landscaping, ultra-efficient mechanical system design, green roofs and high standards of acoustic performance. In addition, for its development, builders used a large amount of materials with recycled content and 87% of construction waste was diverted. The building design includes high performance window frames and glass, and light colored roofs to reduce the building’s heat island impact.

It benefits from a 40% reduction in water consumption compared to the LEED baseline by using efficient appliances. Energy savings are 28% over applicable code and LED lighting has a daylight control system. A dedicated outdoor air ventilation system provides optimal filtered fresh air while recovering heat from the stale air stream. Heat is also recovered between the mechanical systems in the apartment. Electric vehicle charging stations are part of the sustainability package.

READ ALSO: Best States for LEED Multi-Family Certifications in 2021

5. Blackbird Apartments

Blackbird Apartments

May Riegler Properties built this 167-unit community at 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. Southeast with the help of a $44.5 million construction loan financed by EagleBank in 2017, according to Yardi Matrix. In February this year, the asset received its LEED Gold certification with a scorecard of 62 points.

Units in the project have floor-to-ceiling windows for plenty of daylight, and kitchens are equipped with electric ovens and hobs. Other green features include electric car charging stations, a bicycle repair facility, and a recycling program. On the ground floor, there is a 12,500 square foot culinary pavilion dubbed The Roost.

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