502 Second Street


LEED Platinum Certified


In the reborn Westside neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Michigan, 502 Second Street NW was originally constructed in 1917 to house the offices for the Watson Higgins Milling Company. The original building was constructed with fireproof floors, walls and roof systems fabricated with terra cotta block and concrete technologies. The office interior was finished with horsehair plaster and gumwood moldings. The building’s new owners restored the office space in the front grade level and second floors of the building and renovated the lower garden level and high-bay warehouse spaces in the back portion for additional office and storage space.

This building continues to act as a catalyst for sustainable and restorative development in the area. The renovation of the nearly 4,000 square foot LEED Platinum building, completed in March 2010, enables the repurposed building to use 60 percent less energy than a typical office building, 45% less water than the expected baseline, uses a typical market rate of $125 per gross square foot, has zero storm water discharge, and provides a native landscape habitat for a wide variety of birds and insects.

The building serves as an incubator space for green technologies, including a 6-kilowatt photovoltaic solar power array that provides 20% of the building’s maximum electricity needs. In the sunniest months, the photovoltaic system creates a surplus of electricity that can be sold back to the utility. Windows were designed to optimize natural ventilation, provide great daylighting, and to minimize heat gain and thermal heat/cooling loss. Lighting fixtures were designed in concert with window sizing and placement to optimize efficiency. A high-efficiency geothermal heat exchange system has been used to achieve effective energy savings. And following completion of construction, a garden was added in a neighboring parcel to grow produce for the occupants of the building and to share with the immediate neighbors.

Since its first occupancy in 2011 with five users, the building has easily adapted to serve eleven full-time users on four floors.

Compared to all other LEED NC v2.2 certifications, it holds the highest score of any project using that system: 66 of 69 possible points.

Services Used
Building Energy Optimization
Energy Modeling
Daylight Simulation
Systems & Building Commissioning
Certification System Administration

View project on GBIG