Design and Construction, Energy Management and Lighting, Green Building, Security, Sustainability/Business Continuity

NSA’s New Mission-Critical Facility Earns LEED Gold Certification for Sustainability

The Morrison Center, constructed on the National Security Agency (NSA)/Central Security Service (CSS) Washington East Campus in Fort Mead, Md., has received the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification—the first project on the campus to earn the designation.

The 843,000 square-foot, seven-story facility opened in November 2022. As the new home for the NSA’s National Security Operations Center and director, the facility will serve as the agency’s hub for its most critical missions well into the future.

“The Morrison Center demonstrates that innovative design, functionality, and environmental stewardship can coexist harmoniously to create exceptional spaces for the benefit of both people and the planet,” said Randy Westfall, NSA’s chief of installations and logistics.

Recent awards bestowed upon one of NSA’s newest buildings is further cementing NSA’s Military Construction (MILCON) team as a leader in sustainable and innovative builds.

“Obtaining LEED Gold is a notable achievement, demonstrating that our next-generation operational mission space has been built with attention to both the workforce space and the larger environmental impact of our expansion,” said Jeffrey Williams, the environmental engineer responsible for East Campus sustainability.

Williams noted that the accolades not only highlight the building’s design and functionality, but also demonstrate NSA’s commitment to environmental stewardship and efficient resource management. “The Morrison Center boasts state-of-the-art insulation, high-performance windows, and efficient HVAC systems to minimize energy consumption and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

LEED certification is the premier, globally recognized symbol of sustainable building design and construction. While all the buildings on East Campus are built to be LEED Silver, the Morrison Center is the first NSA-owned building to achieve LEED Gold, according to Williams. This certification signifies that the Morrison Center meets stringent criteria for energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and sustainable site development, he said.

The building features low-flow plumbing fixtures to significantly decrease water usage, as well as use of water from the reclaimed water system in industrial sources, promoting responsible resource management, Williams explained. The structure prioritizes the health and well-being of its occupants by incorporating ample daylight, superior air quality control, and ergonomic design principles, he said.

Additionally, the facility incorporates lush green spaces for stormwater management integrated into the East Campus design, along with a rooftop garden and outdoor gathering areas. According to Williams, this was done to foster a connection with nature and provide a serene environment away from the mission tempo.

Courtesy: NSA

Finally, during the construction—managed by U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) Baltimore District East Campus Integrated Program Office—materials were sustainably sourced. From construction to interior finishes, the building utilizes locally sourced, environmentally friendly materials with recycled content, minimizing the impact on natural resources, Williams said.

In addition to the LEED Gold certification, the Morrison Center has won the Association of General Contractors’ “Marvin M. Black Excellence in Partnering and Collaboration Award” and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s “Intelligence Community Facilities Program of the Year Award.”

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