700 Sixth Street

File Type: Free Content, Case study
Release Date: January 2010
Average Rating:       (0 Ratings)
700 Sixth Street exterior view

Fast Facts

Address: Washington, D.C.
Company/Developer: Akridge
Project Specs: Speculative
Project Type: Office
Square Feet: 300,000

Project History: This trophy class, 'Smart' building offers environmentally sensitive, energy-efficient and technologically advanced features. The building is designed to embrace the fabric of the historic East End and Penn Quarter neighborhood. The 12-story building features a limestone base with stone-clad towers and metal spandrel panels.  The façade includes a central curtain-wall starting on the sixth floor and extending to the twelfth floor, with curtain-wall projections on the north and south sides. The building is designed to a LEED Platinum certification, with a private green roof and a terrace with views of the U.S. Capitol.

Commitment to Sustainability

Akridge is committed to conserving energy and minimizing the carbon footprint of their operating company and the properties they develop, own, and manage. Across the Akridge portfolio, their team of professionals is focused on the mission to reduce consumption and minimize environmental impacts. To this end, the company has implemented several programs such as the Green Team, E-Recycling and Earth Week. The firm is pursuing LEED-Existing Building status for other Akridge-managed properties and encourages and sponsors staff members to become LEED Accredited Professionals. Akridge has been recognized for sustainability with several awards.

Green Features

Economic Analysis

  • The green roof, originally expected to represent a cost premium as compared with the cost of a normal commercial applied roof, was instrumental in reducing the size of the water retention system required by the city for a building of this square footage. The savings in the civil design, combined with other factors over the life of the roof, make the green roof cost-neutral in the context of its benefits on a project and regional level.
  • The building’s reduced energy demand is projected to equate to nearly 45 cents per square foot in utility savings annually.  Akridge believes that the controls will not only assist in providing additional energy savings associated with better operations, monitoring, and control, but will extend the life of the mechanical equipment, and thus adding to the economic value. 
  • Plumbing features such as the waterless urinals are expected to result in a 40 percent reduction in annual water usage, which conserves a valuable resource and reduces the collective municipal energy used to treat and transport water on a regional basis, creating savings for the government that ultimately benefit its residents and workers.
700 Sixth Street lobby

Site Sustainability/Materials Use

  • 700 Sixth Street is located in a mixed-use neighborhood with access to public transportation, shops, restaurants and housing. The building offers visitors and clients immediate access to three different Metro lines and at least six bus stops serving nine routes within a quarter mile. Dozens of additional local and commuter bus lines are available within a half mile of the building.
  • The parking facility provides preferred parking spaces for alternative fuel – hybrid or electric – cars and for car sharing vehicles such as Zipcars. These spaces account for 10 percent of the building’s parking capacity. Bike racks are provided within the parking structure and building amenities include locker rooms and showers.
  • In order to make sure a high level of air quality is provided, regularly occupied spaces are supplied with 30% more outdoor air than required. Outdoor air must be dehumidified and conditioned, an energy-intensive process, so irregularly occupied spaces are monitored to provide additional outdoor air only when needed. Carbon dioxide monitors are able to 'sense' when these spaces are occupied and trigger an increase in ventilation.
  • Building materials such as paints, adhesives, carpet and wood products were specified to be low-VOC to prevent chemicals from contaminating the indoor air. Special measures were taken in construction to keep dirt, debris and contaminants out of the ductwork. High quality filters (called MERV 13) maintain this level of cleanliness throughout occupancy.
  • Over 90 percent of building and demolition debris was recycled, salvaged for reuse or otherwise diverted from landfill. Because 700 Sixth Street is in an urban area, co-mingled waste is taken off-site to be sorted and recycled at a nearby facility.
  • Recycled content comprised over 20 percent of building materials, including metals, concrete, glass, ceiling tiles, carpet and wall board, among others.
  • Regional materials (within 500 miles of the project) comprised more 20 percent of all building materials, including metals, concrete, glass, ceiling tiles, carpet and wall board, among others.
  • Some forests require sustainable harvesting techniques. Certified wood is the product of these techniques and was used in 700 Sixth Street.

Energy Efficiency 

  • The building design includes CO/NO2 garage ventilation control as well as advanced garage lighting controls to reduce lighting density from 0.2 watts per square foot to the code minimum of 0.07 watts per square foot. The windows were selected for their premium performance double paned low-emittance glazing with high visible transmittance to provide increased daylight and view access.
  • The green roof contributes to energy efficiency by helping to deflect heat from the sun, reducing the urban heat island effect. The vegetation on the roof helps keep the ambient temperature cooler through evaporation, reducing the demand on the building’s cooling systems.
700 Sixth Street rear of the building

Water Efficiency 

  • Through landscape design and the selection of native and adaptive plants, (non-invasive species) the need for irrigation was eliminated.
  • The design team selected water conserving fixtures, which reduce the amount of potable water used for flushing and washing by over 40 percent. These fixtures include waterless urinals, aerated faucets and showerheads (lower flow with air providing the pressure) and dual flush valve toilets. Dual flush valves give users the option of using a full or half flush by pushing the lever up or down. The waterless urinals and other features will also reduce the outflow of water into the municipal system.
  • 700 Sixth Street has the largest green roof on a private sector building in Washington, D.C. Green roofs capture storm water and allow it to be released back into the atmosphere through evaporation rather than directing it to the municipal water treatment system.


  • The building achieved maximum LEED credits in innovative building design by exceeding LEED requirements, including occupancy sensors in the garage and stairwell towers to control lighting in off-peak, evening and weekend hours. Light in the garage or stair tower dims when there is no motion for an extended period of time. Once a pedestrian or vehicle enters onto a floor, the lights immediately increase to full illumination. Both the stair towers and the garage area are completely painted to brighten both areas without increasing the amount of illumines and wattage.  
  • Another innovative feature Akridge has been a leader in is in-building wireless telecommunications. 700 Sixth Street provides for mobile phone and Wi-Fi access throughout the building, including the garage, elevators and on the roof top. This feature enhances productivity and convenience, as well as allowing extended use of the roof for working outside via laptop.