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LEED Project: Heifer International

Rhino Linings® Spray Foam Passes 5 Point Test For Charity Headquarters

Heifer International is a unique organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the mission of ending hunger around the world and caring for the Earth. With a mission statement like that, you’d expect a world headquarters building that is beyond ordinary and that’s exactly what they created.

Heifer International’s four-story, semi-circular, office building, is part of a four-phase master plan. The architecture was designed to expand environmental stewardship into the public realm while serving as a beacon of hope. Constructed on one the largest Brownfield recoveries in Arkansas, it is located next to the Clinton Presidential Library and is within walking distance of busses, a new light-rail system and a pedestrian entertainment district.

A restored wetland that wraps around three sides of the building collects stormwater for reuse as irrigation water. Rainwater collected from the roof is stored in a five-story water tower wrapped with a fire stair. Graywater collected from sinks and drinking fountains, condensation from outside air units, and rainwater from the water tower are reused in the toilets and cooling tower. Moisture removed from the building as condensation is reused to cool the building. Waterless urinals and low-flow toilets and lavatories further reduce potable water use.

The narrow, semicircular floor plan provides daylight and views for all employees. The majority of open offices in the building offer river views and northern light, and all major gathering spaces access the exterior: five balconies on each floor, designed as outdoor conference rooms, hang over the wetland and act as sunscreens.

The building was designed to use up to 55% less energy than a conventional office building and to last for at least 100 years. Materials for the building, including Rhino Linings® spray polyurethane foam, were selected for their durability, maintainability, low toxicity, recycled or renewable content and regional availability.

This project earned U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1–Level: Platinum (52 points) certification. It was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2007. In 2008, the Heifer International Headquarters building was named a National AIA Honor Award Winner.

“It’s important that what we profess and what we do are in agreement,” said Gerald Cound, facilities director for Heifer International. “(With this building), we are assured that we can tell our story with integrity, and that we are taking a leadership role in this important movement to decrease our footprint on the earth.”