KeyBank Renovated Office Space in Higbee Building Earns Gold LEED® Certification

Investment in historic building bolsters downtown Cleveland

More than 800 employees benefit from sustainable design and green technologies

Certification reinforces KeyBank's commitment to sustainable renovation and construction

Mar 15, 2011, 09:00 ET from KeyCorp

CLEVELAND, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- KeyBank's renovation of three floors in the historic Higbee Building on Public Square has been awarded LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  The project's progressive workspace features a number of sustainability features, from automated lighting and ventilation systems to a design that maintains the building's historic charm.

(Editor's Note: For photos and additional information click here for a news package on KeyBank's Higbee Building renovation:

"This renovation represents KeyBank's commitment to strengthen our community's core in the most environmentally responsible ways possible," said Henry Meyer, KeyCorp CEO. "It enhances one of the most historic buildings in the heart of downtown, it leverages Tower City Center's existing transportation hub and it allows hundreds of our employees to enjoy the growing sense of excitement connected to the area's ongoing economic development.

"We're very proud to have earned this recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council," Meyer said.

KeyBank hired local architects from VOCON to incorporate sustainable technologies and construction practices consistent with a LEED certification. The 221,000-square-foot renovation features a high percentage of recycled building materials, enhanced natural lighting, personal lighting control systems, CO2 sensors, outdoor air monitoring systems and more. (For more features, see project Fact Sheet.)

"KeyBank's decision to create a workspace that is LEED Gold Certified places the company among the industry leaders in sustainable renovation," said Michelle Thomas, a LEED-accredited professional and project manager with VOCON in Cleveland. "KeyBank embraced an innovative interior layout that allows all employees to share in the natural light that flows through work areas."

The Green Building Council's LEED certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a healthier environment.

KeyBank's Higbee project joins a growing number of LEED certified projects in Northeast Ohio. The local chapter of the USGBC recognizes 62 certified projects in the region, including a Gold certification Forest City Enterprises earned for its restoration of the Higbee Building's core and shell.  Key's technology and operations center on Tiedeman Road earlier received LEED certification.

The project's LEED certification aspects complement the modern workspace KeyBank created. The space provides standard offices as well as work areas where staff can temporarily touch down, plug in and meet in small groups. The renovated floors include "huddle rooms" and casual meeting areas with flat-screen TVs for online access and presentations.

"KeyBank is pleased to join a growing number of sustainable building and restoration efforts in Northeast Ohio," Meyer said. "We are committed to the ongoing improvement of Northeast Ohio's economy and quality of life."

Cleveland-based KeyCorp is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $92 billion. Key companies provide investment management, retail and commercial banking, consumer finance, and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the United States and, for certain businesses, internationally.  For more information, visit

Fact Sheet

KeyBank Higbee Building LEED Certification

KeyBank’s renovation of three floors in the historic Higbee Building in downtown Cleveland earned LEED Gold certification. Here are some of the sustainability highlights the U.S. Green Building Council recognized:

  • Systems and design reduces overall artificial light utilization.  

  • Controls in all regularly occupied workspaces within 15 feet of perimeter windows automatically reduce lighting use during daylight hours.

  • Lighting systems give a majority of occupants the ability to control task lighting at their work stations, reducing the need for overall, ambient lighting.

  • The project team recycled more than 95% of on-site generated construction waste and diverted it from landfills.

  • A significant portion of the building materials used was manufactured from recycled items.

  • A significant portion of the building materials used was manufactured within 500 miles of the project.

  • Ventilation system includes CO2 sensors and outdoor air monitoring systems.

  • Workers flushed the HVAC system prior to occupancy to remove contaminants resulting from the construction process.

  • The project team utilized paints, adhesives, sealants, carpet, wood and other materials that have no volatile organic compounds, thus reducing indoor air contaminants.

  • Work-area thermostats allow for localized control, reducing heating and cooling demand in common areas

  • An automated power management system powers down audiovisual systems when not in use.

(Editor's Note: For photos and additional information click here for a news package on KeyBank's Higbee Building renovation: