Kunal Gulati

The Dexter Horton building is alive. Located in downtown Seattle, Gerding Edlen Green Cities Fund II’s Dexter Horton Building recently became the first building in the country to recertify using the LEED Dynamic Plaque, earning LEED Gold with a total of 70 points.

A recipient of USGBC’s Leadership Award, Gerding Edlen specializes in real estate investment, asset management and development. The group has developed or redeveloped a total of 54 LEED certified buildings, including the first LEED Platinum building on the National Register of Historic Places and the first LEED Platinum and LEED Gold condominiums in the country. Dexter Horton’s original LEED Gold certification was earned in 2009, and five years later, Gerding Edlen partnered with USGBC in piloting the new Dynamic Plaque to maintain the building’s certification.

The Dynamic Plaque measures the real-time performance of existing LEED-certified buildings in the categories of energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience. The Dynamic Plaque gives building owners, managers and tenants new insight into building performance. The plaque focuses on key metrics, several of which are direct outcomes of tenant actions. It opens up a new opportunity for a better dialogue on sustainable practices.

The plaque itself is featured in the lobby of the building so that guests and tenants can see and measure the building’s performance in real time. According to Renee Loveland, the sustainability manager for Portland, Oregon–based Gerding Edlen, the plaque turns a building’s performance into a conversation. “The recertification process is easy; it doesn’t consist of a lot of paperwork,” she notes. “Earning the recertification still requires best practices in building operations, but distills the effort down to the most meaningful and easily understandable metrics.”

The Dexter Horton building collected data for energy, water, and waste over the course of a year in the Energy Star Portfolio Manager and then connected with the LEED Dynamic Plaque through LEEDon.io. The building earned 29 out of the maximum 33 points in the energy efficiency category, validating the operational efficiency practices by building management and heightening tenant awareness of energy conservation.

Indeed, a unique aspect of the Dynamic Plaque recertification is the focus on tenant engagement. The plaque offers visual validation along with feedback from surveys. This platform makes it much easier for tenants to understand how their choices and actions matter. And tenants don’t need to be in the building to see the Plaque—it is accessible online. “We’re excited the LEED Dynamic Plaque allows us to show our tenants that their daily actions really do affect building performance, and that they have a direct role in the certification outcome,” Loveland said.

Recycling and composting, choosing to conserve energy and water, and using alternative transportation options are also rewarded in the point system, resulting in a higher score and higher LEED rating. Dexter Horton managed to earn 6 out of 8 points in the waste category, reflecting the building management’s strong recycling and composting programs. Additionally, Dexter Horton’s newly renovated bicycle room encouraged 389 survey respondents (or 65 percent of building occupants) to commute via alternate transportation. 

Buildings like Dexter Horton will continue to engage with LEED through the Dynamic Plaque. If you are ready for recertification or looking to enhance your current sustainability rigor, contact us for a free 30-day trial of the LEED Dynamic Plaque.

Learn more about the Dynamic Plaque