YIKES Gets LEED Certification

The lesbian-owned web design firm is the first in the state to be honored for mixed-use rehab

Tracey, Phine and Mia in the East Girard office of YIKES (photo by Christopher Leaman)

When we talked with Mia and Tracy Levesque, life and business partners, about the work they’ve been doing to achieve LEED certification for their web design business YIKES (in the new fall issue of G Philly), both were confident in the steps they were taking to make going green a reality. When they purchased the headquarters at 204-206 East Girard just two years ago – it was vacant and falling apart. But during that time period, the partners turned the 5,720-square-foot space into a green business with residential units.

This month, it’s paid off. The buildings will officially be certified LEED Platinum, the highest level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This makes the pair of buildings the first LEED Platinum mixed-use rehab in the state, including two ground-floor storefronts – one of which serves as the office for YIKES, the web design and development company – and four apartments on the second and third floors.

The couple are getting ready for a plaque-mounting ceremony on Friday, Sept. 21 (5:30 p.m.) on the site, just footsteps from Johnny Brenda’s.

The team for the project included Plumbob Architects, Greensaw Design & Build, LLC, and Sustainable Solutions Corporation. “Sustainable building practices were used to utilize materials that were natural, renewable, durable, locally produced, recycled or contain recycled content and contain a minimum concentration of toxic materials (VOC’s, formaldehyde, etc.),” says Tracy. “This project adhered to the building philosophy known as ‘slow build.'”

She says material, when possible, was salvaged from dismantled sites. Local craftspeople contributed their own expertise to creatively solve design issues. And labor and time was spent re-visioning different uses for the reclaimed and recycled material. “Sustainable finishes were used whenever possible,” she says, “with an emphasis on performance and longevity.”