Washington, DC

American Geophysical Union


With a mission of advancing earth and space science, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) wanted to update and improve their existing headquarters building in Washington, DC. AGU was committed to furthering their building’s performance and undertook a renovation to better their energy efficiency, water consumption, and work environment, and ultimately help them achieve net zero energy use. SGH consulted on the building enclosure renovations for the project.

SGH investigated the condition of the building enclosure comprising precast concrete, brick, and cast stone cladding; curtain walls; windows in punched openings; and low-slope roofing. Our investigation included visual and infrared surveys, observations at exploratory openings, and air and water leakage testing to understand the existing building enclosure’s performance and identify improvement opportunities. We then helped the project team design building enclosure renovations. Highlights of our work include:

  • Reviewing the whole-building energy model during the predesign phase
  • Determining thermal performance values for the walls, fenestration, and roofing assemblies, and air leakage rates used in the energy model
  • Consulting on new window and curtain wall systems with electrochromic glazing that automatically varies the shading properties to optimize daylighting and occupant comfort
  • Developing details to integrate the fenestration with adjacent wall systems
  • Performing hygrothermal analyses to evaluate options for insulating the existing walls
  • Helping design new roofing assemblies for vegetative roofs, a roof supporting a large photovoltaic array, and other low-slope roofs

SGH provided construction phase services related to the building enclosure work, including reviewing submittals, observing ongoing construction, witnessing air/water testing of fenestration and a flood test for the roof, and helping the team address field conditions.

Project Summary



Completion Date


Project Size


Repair & Rehabilitation
Building Enclosures | Performance & Code Consulting | Applied Science & Research
American Geophysical Union | Hicock Cole Architects
Specialized Capabilities
Building Science | Condition Assessments | Energy & Sustainability | Environmental Simulations

Key team members

Niklas Vigener
Niklas Vigener
Chief Technical Officer
Sophia Salah
Sophia Salah
Senior Project Manager