The National Association of Realtors today officially opened for business in Washington, D.C., in an environmentally advanced commercial building expected to receive “green” certification.

The blue-green, glass-wrapped structure, which will serve as the Washington home of Chicago-based NAR, creates a dramatic presence at 500 New Jersey Ave., with a reportedly breathtaking view of the U.S. Capitol, only three blocks away.

NAR said in a press statement that the building will be the first newly constructed building in the District of Columbia to meet “green” standards, which are high levels of environmental performance as set by the U.S. Green Building Council. NAR said it expects to earn a certification from the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System for the structure.

Some of the “green” aspects of the building include a landscaping plan that uses native plant species to reduce irrigation demands and captures rain water for reuse in irrigation; efficient HVAC systems and a high-performance glass curtain wall that aim to reduce energy use by as much as 30 percent compared to code standards; zero use of CFC-refrigerants; high-recycled building materials; smoking prohibitions throughout the office spaces; and a carbon dioxide monitoring system to introduce fresh air in areas of increased occupancy.

NAR occupies five floors of the 12-story building, including the top four floors, using about 40,000 square feet, with the balance of the 93,000 square feet to be leased. A rooftop facility will be used for social gatherings.

Groundbreaking on the structure began in October 2002, and NAR took possession of the building in May 2004. The site, a reclaimed “brownfield” (contaminated ground) previously occupied by a gas station, was cleaned up under NAR oversight. The crew dug out and hauled away more than 24 feet of dirt to approved waste sites before construction began, according to a press statement.

NAR President McDonald said the building was more than a symbol of NAR’s growing strength and influence. “It is one more way we are achieving our mission as an association to be the leading advocate in our nation’s capital for our business and for property owners’ rights. It also represents the important work our members do to help America’s families achieve the dream of home ownership.”

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