M-NCPPC Wheaton Headquarters becomes first government-owned office building to achieve LEED Platinum status in Maryland

March 1, 2021

Exterior views of Wheaton HQ and LEED Platinum seal
U.S. Green Building Council recognizes M-NCPPC’s commitment to sustainability by awarding office in downtown Wheaton with highest environmental certification

WHEATON, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department and Montgomery Parks, both part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), are pleased to announce that their new 14-story Wheaton Headquarters (WHQ) building has become the first government-owned office building in Maryland to achieve the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The project includes innovative features, such as the state’s first geothermal well system for heating and cooling in a government-owned office building. Final review has been concluded by the USGBC following the building’s opening in August 2020, resulting in the verification of the certification last week.

Platinum is the highest LEED certification that the USGBC offers, which the building achieved with a total of 84 points. LEED projects earn points across nine basic areas that address key aspects of green buildings including water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, location and transportation and energy and atmosphere. Eventually a LEED Platinum certification plaque will be placed on the “living wall” in the main lobby of the building.

“We talk a lot about turning parking lots into places, and in this case that’s exactly what we’ve done,” said Casey Anderson, chair of the Montgomery Planning Board. “What used to be a giant slab of asphalt is now a 14-story LEED Platinum building that will serve not only as a hub for local government offices but as a major center of activity with space for community gatherings and activities both inside and outside of the building. We really appreciate the support of the County Council and the work of our partners at the county’s Department of Transportation in getting this project built.”

This honor closely aligns with the Commission’s mission as stewards of the natural and built environment. In a letter dated February 17, 2021 to M-NCPPC from the President & CEO of the USGBC and Green Business Certification Inc., Mahesh Ramanujam stated that the “LEED certification identifies The Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission Headquarters as a showcase example of sustainability and demonstrates your leadership in transforming the building industry.”

“We have almost a century of experience with sustainable planning for the bi-county region of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties,” said M-NCPPC Chair Asuntha Chiang-Smith. “This new Wheaton Headquarters sets a high bar and represents our continued commitment towards building a sustainable future for the next 100 years.”

Sustainable features of the building include:

  • Integral rooftop solar panels that power the building’s auditorium.
  • Green roofs and a gray water reuse system used for flushing toilets.
  • The exterior incorporates state of the art rain screen facades.
  • The plaza and streetscapes are designed with landscaped elements to manage stormwater onsite.
  • A living wall in the lobby.
  • The building is located across the street from the Wheaton Metrorail and bus lines to encourage transit use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from car commutes.
  • Ample bike storage and locker rooms encourage bike commuting.
  • The office interiors are designed to achieve a LEED Gold rating through energy-efficient lighting, efficient water fixtures, abundant natural daylight, locally sourced building materials, reuse/remanufactured furniture, and recycled materials.
  • A geothermal well system for heating and cooling (the first for a government-owned office building in the State) saves over 30 percent of typical energy costs annually.

Check out the short video showcasing all of the sustainable features of the Wheaton HQ building.

The Wheaton building is owned by M-NCPPC, was designed by Gensler, and developed by Stonebridge with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation managing the design and construction. The entire project was constructed by Clark Construction Group. The building project was also a part of a Public/Private land swap which allowed Montgomery Planning to vacate the site of their old office building in downtown Silver Spring, leaving room for a new mixed-use gateway development at the corner of Spring Street and Georgia Avenue comprised of a 400 residential unit complex with an urban grocery store within walking distance to the Silver Spring transit station.

The Wheaton building includes a 200-seat auditorium for Planning Board meetings, the new .75 acre Marian Fryer town square, and an underground public parking garage. In addition to the Montgomery Planning and Montgomery Parks Departments headquarters, it is also home to six Montgomery County departments including:

  • Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (MCDPS)
  • Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (MCDEP)
  • Mid-County Regional Services Center – Wheaton Urban District
  • Community Use of Public Facilities (CUPF)
  • Montgomery County Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Montgomery County Department of Recreation (REC)

Approximately 900 government employees will eventually work out of the office building to help revitalize the downtown Wheaton area. The town square includes public space with an amphitheater for people to gather and enjoy programming throughout the year as well as a fountain and public art on the plaza.

The building is located at 2425 Reedie Drive, which is adjacent to the Wheaton Metro and bus transfer Station. This enables staff to take transit to and from work. Staff and building guests will also be encouraged to walk and bike to the building when possible, reducing traffic and adding more pedestrian and street activity to downtown Wheaton.

About the Wheaton Headquarters

The mixed-use M-NCPPC building with ground-floor retail and upper-floor offices frames both Triangle Lane, Grandview Avenue and a landscaped plaza and the Marian Fryer town square. The large, entrance lobby is framed in glass, illuminates the new plaza at night and is inviting and symbolizes the transparency and civic mindedness of government. The two-story lobby space will be open to the public once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and used for displays, celebrations, and other events. The open lobby includes an information desk and publicly accessible grand staircase leading to the Planning Board auditorium on the second floor. A living green wall extends on one side of the space to represent the building’s environmentally sensitive design. The building is currently closed to the public with staff on a maximum telework schedule due to the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more about the Wheaton Headquarters building.

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is a bi-county agency empowered by the State of Maryland in 1927 to acquire, develop, maintain, and administer a regional system of parks within Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, and to provide land use planning for the physical development of Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. In addition, the agency gained responsibility for the public recreation program in Prince George’s County in 1970.

The governing body of M-NCPPC consists of 10 members, five appointed by Montgomery County and five by Prince George’s County. The commission coordinates and acts on matters of interest to both counties, and meets at least once a month. The members of the commission from each county serve on separate county planning boards to facilitate, review, and administer the matters affecting their respective counties.