Built using donated American wood, DC-based office expresses mission and brand of forest conservation nonprofit

Built using donated American wood DC-based office expresses mission and brand of forest conservation nonprofitThe American Forest Foundation (AFF) has been awarded three Green Globes for its energy-efficient and architecturally unique new headquarters.

“It’s hard to believe that only a few months ago this space was just a cavernous, concrete shell. Now it’s a home for everyone who cares for forests,” said CEO and President Tom Martin. “We’re very proud of the way the office represents the mission and values of the American Forest Foundation, and of the recognition from Green Globes”.

The Green Building Initiative’s (GBI) Green Globes program provides green building guidance and certification that includes an onsite assessment by a third party. Three globes demonstrates AFF’s leadership in applying best practices regarding energy and water through a build-out of an existing office space.

The AFF Board of Trustees and staff saw this project as an opportunity to tell the compelling story of our nation’s woodlands, certified Tree Farmers, and the next generation of America’s conservation leaders. The suite at 2000 M Street NW in Washington, D.C. is built of American-grown wood donated by some of America’s 22 million family forest owners. The space displays longleaf pine, black walnut, eastern red cedar, pecan, Douglas fir, and loblolly pine, to name a few species.

“It’s a space that inspires and motivates us every day. Literally every piece of wood here tells a story and we have materials trumpeting those stories throughout,” said Martin. “AFF’s headquarters also demonstrates our commitment to responsibly managing our finances. The build-out came in under budget, and it will be ten years before the cost per square foot equals what we paid in our old location.”

This space is about practicing what you preach. AFF applied strategies from its award-winning environmental education program Project Learning Tree® (PLT) to ensure energy efficiency throughout the office. Light-harvesting technology limits electrical usage, and nearly everything in the office incorporates at least some recycled materials—from the furniture upholstery to kitchen countertops (made entirely of recycled milk cartons). Carpeting was installed using less adhesive to reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted into the air, and low-VOC paints and varnishes were selected. The wood fibers in the ceiling panels are made of a material called Tectum, comprised of Wisconsin-grown aspen trees.

Throughout the office, there are donations of wood from family forest owners—from tree cookies to coffee tables, benches, conference tables, and a unique coffee bar made from a 200-year old oak tree.

“We are fortunate to have unique donations of wood from our family forest friends who wanted to share their sense of pride in being affiliated with AFF,” said Martin.

“From the very beginning of this job, the architects at Bill London Design Group never really saw the project as just another build out. It was more than a plan, more than a way to be creative—it was an opportunity to be a part of something larger than that—an opportunity to tell a story about forests and families and the next generation,” added Martin.

“This is more than an office,” said Project Learning Tree staff member Jaclyn Stallard. “It is an experience. This place instills a sense of pride and wonder with what we come here to do every day.”

On January 28, AFF is holding an open house scavenger hunt throughout the new office for educators, industry leaders, conservation partners and members of the media.

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