An Example of LEED Platinum Building Design

Designing a “green” building under the LEED guidelines presents a unique challenge to construction: the building needs to be more energy efficient than required by code. In essence, the code does not anticipate the obstacles of green building issues. With the help of Rolf Jensen & Associates’ (RJA) code expertise, the Genzyme Center synchronized sophisticated engineering and careful design to meet the five core features of the LEED standard’s framework for environmental design.

“As a design team, we were able to set a new standard in environmentally responsible architecture by combining innovative design and cutting-edge technology,” said Dave LeBlanc, Vice President, Engineering Manager at RJA.

The Genzyme Center, a 12-story, 350,000-square-foot high-rise office building, which serves as headquarters for the Genzyme Corporation in Cambridge, Mass., features a striking all-glass exterior and a soaring, sky Pllit internal atrium. The complex, 12-story atrium was one aspect that provided fire and life safety design challenges in order to comply with the highest level of LEED, platinum. Because the complexity of atrium design did not lend itself to prescriptive standards, RJA incorporated sound life safety principles into every aspect of the atrium design, providing state-of-the-art plans to meet codes while complying with the LEED guidelines.

“The Genzyme Center was able to meet all the fire, life safety and building code provisions, as well as achieve a LEED Platinum rating while keeping the integrity of the atrium’s unique design in the center of the building,” said LeBlanc. “The project team and the client balanced aesthetics, cost, constructability, and reliability to create an environmentally responsible corporate headquarters.”

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Rolf Jensen & Associates provides a comprehensive range of engineering and consulting services for clients on projects around the world. Through its 30 offices, the company is the leading consulting engineering firm for fire and life safety issues, from designing a fire alarm system for a high-rise building or conducting a fire model for smoke control in a new convention center to providing on-site management of the life safety construction process or conducting a custom training seminar on performance-based design.

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