Rotary International headquarters in Evanston earns LEED gold rating

Amanda Gilbert

The world headquarters of Rotary International, which is based in Evanston, was awarded a LEED gold certification last week.

One Rotary Center, 1560 Sherman Ave., is managed by New York City-based Cushman & Wakefield and received a perfect score on its appliation. Janis Young, Rotary International’s multimedia division manager, said the certification is an example of the organization’s commitment to service and sustainability.

“The award shows what Rotary is about since it is an organization of service clubs, and we work with these clubs all over the world,” Young said. “We have more than 44,000 clubs worldwide and about 1.2 million men and women who are members working to improve the environment.”

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and certification is managed by the U.S. Green Building Council. There are four levels of certification: certified, silver, gold and platinum.

Joel Ann Todd, vice chair of the group’s LEED Steering Committee, said the Rotary building was unique because of its perfect score on the gold level.

“Not all companies get that,” Todd said.

Many of the requirements involve sustainability and energy efficiency, Todd said. The U.S. Green Building Council measures the water efficiency, energy use and materials used within the building. Buildings earn credits based on the number of LEED requirements they fulfill. Their certification is based on the total number of credits, Todd said.

He said many companies are trying to go after extra credits by improving their facilities beyond the basic LEED requirements.

“Companies like the Rotary Club will focus on projects that use innovative technologies and strategies to improve beyond what is required,” Todd said.

Young said the company not only focuses on sustainability within its phyiscal building in Evanston but also works on green projects around the world.

“We have programs that send teams of experts to various countries to train people on disease prevention or water sanitation,” Young said. “We also set up literacy programs, mentoring for students and interact clubs in many communities.”

Gold certificaiton is one level below platinum, the top ranking which is most difficult to achieve. Many companies don’t attempt to apply for platinum certification because it takes many years to reach that level, Todd said.

Dick Peach, past president of the Rotary Club of Evanston, said the organization deserved the LEED certification. The local chapter, which has been in town for 91 years, plays an important role in the Evanston and Northwestern community, he said.

“Rotary gives back to not only the local community in Evanston, but also the world and the United States,” Peach said.