Berks County Community Foundation’s Green Office Building
May 27, 2019 10:08AM
By Jason Brudereck
Berks County Community Foundation’s headquarters and community conference center was the first green office building in the Greater Reading area when it opened in 2009. The environmentally-friendly features earned the building a platinum level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. That’s the highest certification level possible.
The Community Foundation’s goal was to demonstrate that it’s possible to “go green” and still have a normal, functioning facility. The Community Foundation brought in specialists to work with local contractors to increase the number of local companies that can “build green”.
“The Community Foundation set out to design a headquarters that would inspire other businesses that are building or renovating to keep the environment in mind,” said Kevin K. Murphy, Community Foundation president. “We only included green features that would pay for themselves in 10 years or less. Our achievement of LEED platinum proves that companies can earn the highest level of certification by building smarter––not more expensively.”
A decade later, there are 25 green buildings in Berks County. The most recent addition to these ranks is Berks Nature, a conservation organization that achieved the second-highest ranking of LEED certification: gold.
The Community Foundation remains the only platinum-certified green building in the region. Some of the building’s features include: green roofs; a rainwater collection system for flushing toilets; a reception desk composed of shredded, retired U.S. currency; carpets made from recycled plastic bottles; and a main stairwell made of reclaimed wood that was set aside during refurbishment of the Coney Island Pier.