Cradle to Cradle Certified Earns Innovation in Design Credits for SMITHGROUPJJR’s ‘Workplace of the Future’

In pursuit of LEED Platinum CI for its new Washington, DC studio, SmithGroupJJR earned an Innovation in Design (ID) Credit that demonstrates a commitment to sustainability through holistic product evaluation.
To earn these credits, a building project team must incorporate at least 2.5% certified products into its project design.Cradle to Cradle Certified is multi-attribute methodology that promotes continuous product improvement across five quality categories: Material Health, Material Reutilization, Renewable Energy, Water Stewardship, and Social Fairness. The process is both comprehensive and rigorous. It requires a paradigm shift in thinking about how a product is designed, what’s in it, and where it goes after use.
Already a national leader in sustainable design, SmithGroupJJR’s new space demonstrates its vision for its Workplace of the Future. It is based on the idea that while green is good in itself, sustainable design also supports better business results.  The goals of the project include:
  • Drastically reduce the footprint (from 58,000 to 35,000 sq. ft.)
  • Create a 100% open studio concept
  • Maximize human performance

Stacy Glass, the Institute’s Executive in Residence for the Built Environment, recently spoke with Rob Moylan, Principal at SmithGroupJJR, about this project and the use of the Cradle to Cradle Innovation in Design credit.

Stacy Glass: Why did you choose to pursue the Cradle to Cradle ID credit?Rob Moylan: We try to look at everything we do in a sustainable perspective. Whether it’s a client goal or not, it’s a goal for us. The Cradle to Cradle process is one thing that we look at as part of our sustainable design.

Stacy Glass: The credit requires that 2.5% of materials by cost are Cradle to Cradle Certified. What did you achieve?Rob Moylan: We achieved 13%, partly from doing extra research and partly because products we appreciated and that worked well for us happened to be Cradle to Cradle Certified. It is nice that we wanted to specify the Cradle to Cradle Certified products anyway and that they were also designed well. We are a design office—we promote the value of design for a living—so anything we specify needs to be attractive in addition to being sustainable.

Stacy Glass: Have you used the credit before?   Will you use it again with clients?Rob Moylan: This is the third time, and yes, we will absolutely use it again. It’s one of those easy credits to get if you think about in the planning phase.

Stacy Glass:  What specific products were included in the project?Rob Moylan: The list of C2C products included:

  • Haworth Reside workstations
  • Haworth Planes tables
  • Haworth Very chairs
  • Office Specialty filing and storage
  • Mecho-shade Eco Veil fabric
  • Eco Solution Q fiber in Shaw carpets
  • Eco Intelligent polyester in Luna fabrics

Stacy Glass: Was the credit easy to accomplish?Rob Moylan: I wouldn’t say it was hard. It just took a little extra research effort. It’s great that the products that are Cradle to Cradle Certified are ones we would use anyway. In that respect, it wasn’t very hard.

Stacy Glass: Anything else you would add?Rob Moylan: We as a firm recognize the importance of Cradle to Cradle. It’s nice that the sustainability initiative keeps developing; it’s not just about recycled materials or local materials, but rather about how things are made and how they can be reused and not down-cycled. That’s the future of this movement.