John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse Historic Green Renovation

General Information

Quick Facts

Project Information

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as lead tenant and key partner, renovated the 23-story, 700,000-square-foot (SF) John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse (POCH) in downtown Boston's Post Office Square. The goal of the project was to preserve the building's historical features while showcasing it as a model of energy efficiency and sustainable design. EPA's Region 1 Office houses 840 employees in this landmark building, occupying 328,862 rentable SF. The renovation, completed in November 2009, removed all mechanical and electrical components of the original building but reused nearly all of the original structure.

Environmental Aspects

The McCormack POCH achieved the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC's) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction (LEED-NC) version 2.2 Gold certification in June 2010. The building is expected to receive an ENERGY STAR(R) label after a year of occupancy.
Energy-saving measures include the use of R-11 insulation; new, high-efficiency, historically appropriate windows; high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment; carbon dioxide sensors for demand-controlled ventilation; heat recovery at restroom exhausts; carbon monoxide sensors on garage exhaust fans; daylight dimming in perimeter spaces; occupancy sensors; and energy-saving office equipment.

An 11,323-SF green roof covers the 4th and 5th floor roofs and is accessible from the 5th floor. The native, drought-resistant plants filter pollutants from stormwater runoff and minimize the urban "heat island" effect. Rainwater collected from the 4th, 5th, and 17th floor roofs is stored in ten cisterns and retrieved for irrigation with a solar-powered pump.

The project diverted 91 percent of construction and demolition (C&D) materials and reused 99 percent of the historical structure. It also preserved interior features such as historical paneling, terrazzo floors with marble inlay, and oak parquet floors. GSA's Historic Preservation Office and Boston's Landmark Commission worked together to ensure compliance with the city's historic preservation requirements.

Project Team