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USG Corporation Registers New Headquarters Office as LEED for Commercial Interiors Space

USG Corporation today announced that it has registered its new headquarters, 550 W Adams St, as LEED for Commercials Interiors (CI) registered space, the US Green Building Council's voluntary rating standard for green design and construction of tenant improvements. USG is seeking LEED-CI Gold certification, joining a select group of environmentally-friendly buildings in Chicago. Of the 250 registered LEED-CI spaces in Chicago, only 16 are certified as Gold. LEED ratings include Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

"Our new headquarters provides a cost-effective, comfortable and productive environment for each of us as individuals and employees - a place where we can grow and thrive for years to come," said William C. Foote, Chairman and CEO of USG Corporation. "The new space maximizes occupant comfort and minimizes our environmental impact at a lower cost-per-square foot than our previous headquarters."

Nearly 1000 employees occupy 11 floors totaling about 300,000 square feet in the new 18-story glass and steel building.

The company moved to the site, located in Chicago's west loop, in March. Sustainable design and environmental responsibility are important features of the new space. Highlights include:
  • Less water and operational energy usage
  • More efficient use of space: total square footage and footprint per occupant were reduced by 10 percent
  • Superior indoor environmental quality, including increased use of natural light, improved acoustics and better circulation.
The recently completed building features a green roof, more than half of which is covered with vegetation. The company is using nearly 25 percent less water with low flush, low flow lavatories and sinks.

"The environmentally sensitive design features of our new headquarters demonstrate our broad and long-standing commitment to sustainability which is evident in the products we manufacture," said Fareed Khan, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing. "Most of our products are high in recycled content and produce no or low levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Products such as SHEETROCK brand gypsum panels are extremely low in embodied energy, the amount of energy required to extract, manufacture and transport a building product."

Many of the USG products used in the new space came from nearby manufacturing locations, including East Chicago, IL and Walworth, WI plants, as well as other Midwest locations.

USG reduced its lighting needs by nearly 30 percent to help conserve energy and reduce operating costs.
  • All employees have natural light and 97 percent have daylight views.
  • The building's windows have low-energy glazing and an environmentally friendly shade system. These features improve comfort while also diffusing and diverting direct sun light and allowing refracted light to penetrate deeper into the space.
  • The company's own ceiling panel brands provide high light reflectance, which improve both the quality and quantity of the natural light.
  • USG maximizes natural and indirect light with lower cubicle walls and more glass to separate spaces.
While the open-office floor plan increases interaction and collaboration, the space is actually quieter than the company's former closed-office arrangement. The superior acoustical performance characteristics are largely attributable to USG's Halcyon and Mars brand ceiling panels, which absorb significant amounts of sound while maintaining a high quality of uniform natural light. The company also installed a state-of-the-art sound masking system above the ceiling to distribute an engineered background sound similar to soft blowing air. The system masks noise and conversation in open areas while improving privacy in enclosed spaces. Private offices are surrounded on three sides with a gypsum soffit system that reflects open area noise back to the sound absorbing ceiling.

Nearly 100 percent of the company's appliances and equipment are Energy Star rated, including computers, printers, snack machines and cafeteria equipment. The cafeteria uses easily recyclable eating utensils known as "spudware", which are derived from potatoes. Menu choices in the cafeteria emphasize organic, sustainable, locally produced foods. And, USG uses soy-based eco-friendly coffee cups.

"We're proud of what we've accomplished with our new headquarters. It's good business, it's what our customers expect from their partners and it's consistent with our history of environmental leadership and excellence," Foote said. "We have consistently led the industry in offering products that create healthy, sustainable spaces and meet the needs of the most demanding building and design professionals, and with our new headquarters, we were just as demanding."

USG expects the LEED certification process to take approximately one year. Upon completion, the company plans to apply for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Challenge and the Green Building Initiative's Green Globe System.

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