Providing a collaborative, effective and sustainably designed workspace for Waste Management Inc.’s nearly 2,000 Houston-area employees, its new headquarters has earned U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® v4 Platinum for Commercial Interiors. Perkins&Will’s design and product choices further support indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, material and resource sustainability, and occupant health and wellness.

Combining its operations from two, previously separate locations in the Houston area, Waste Management relocated to nine floors encompassing 284,000 square feet of Class A office space at Bank of America Tower, a new 35-story, 780,000-square-foot skyscraper opened in 2019 that is ENERGY STAR®-certified, received a top-tier Fitwel® Three Star Rating and achieved LEED v4 Platinum for Core and Shell.

Perkins&Will carefully evaluated and selected Rockfon’s acoustic ceiling solutions to support the project’s sustainability and resiliency, contemporary aesthetics and create a comfortable, productive atmospheres.

Located on levels 25-33 of Bank of America Tower, each floor offers up to 31,000 square feet of leasable space with expansive 10-foot-high ceilings and full-height glass exterior walls. While outside views and daylight contribute to sustainability and wellness goals, the hard surfaces combined with large, open areas presented site-specific acoustic challenges requiring advice from Rockfon’s Acoustic Specialist, Gary Madaras, PhD.

For Waste Management’s headquarters, Madaras understood that background sound was within optimal range, and the walls were full height to insulate and block sound between rooms. Instead, he focused on reviewing the sound absorption of the ceiling and reverberation with respect to each room’s function before recommending ceiling panels with a 0.90 Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) or higher for best performance.

Watch a virtual tour of Bank of America Tower.

Waste Management Corporate Headquarters

Houston, TX

Providing a 0.95 NRC, more than 245,000 square feet of Rockfon Sonar® acoustic stone wool ceiling panels along with Chicago Metallic® 4600 Ultraline™ 9/16-inch suspension system and Infinity™ Perimeter Trim was specified for open offices, private offices, meeting rooms, multi-purpose rooms, game room, respite room, wellness suites and corridors. The enclosed rooms offer an optimized acoustic experience with sound-absorbing ceiling panels and full-height sound-insulating walls to lower noise levels, allowing employees to concentrate and to keep private conversations confidential. In the open office areas and larger rooms, sound-absorbing ceilings also support best-level acoustics as appropriate to collaborative workstyles, socializing and speech intelligibility for group communication.

All the Rockfon ceiling panels in Waste Management’s headquarters are white with an elegant, lightly textured surface. Contributing to the building’s energy efficiency and employee’s health and wellness, the panel’s bright white surface reflects up to 85 percent of light, maximizing natural light and producing diffused top-lighting that lessens eye strain and headaches by minimizing glare on monitors and screens. These durable panels require minimal care to maintain their clean, contemporary aesthetic.

Rockfon offers health product declarations (HPDs) and UL-verified environmental product declarations (EPDs) to help architects, building owners and tenants make informed decisions about their material ingredients. Further demonstrating its support on indoor air quality and healthy interiors, Rockfon Sonar stone wool ceiling panels have earned UL® Environment GREENGUARD® Gold Certification for low chemical emissions.

Throughout Waste Management’s headquarters, ceilings are visually differentiated by the panel size and orientation. The majority of Rockfon’s ceiling panels are 2-by-5 feet, some are 2-by-4 and a few are 4-by-4. The rectangular panels feature a square tegular narrow edge installed in a modern, modular grid. The square, large-format panels were set in a shiplap pattern, further distinguishing the boardroom and executive conference room on the 29th floor. On the 30th floor, 21,000 square feet of 2-by-5-foot Rockfon Sonar panels were prefabricated for a seamless fit with the linear high-efficiency light fixtures.

When repairs or upgrades are needed to wiring, ductwork or other equipment hidden above the panels in the plenum, Rockfon’s standard 9/16-inch suspension system makes it easy to remove one panel or several. Perimeter trim enhances the ceiling’s crisp, neatly finished edges. Where ceilings transition in elevation, such as in the multi-purpose rooms, a tidy perimeter provides the expected professional appearance.

Bank of America Tower provides a compelling environment that enables tenants and visitors to thrive. Cleaner air, efficient systems and more green space does more than lower carbon footprints – it improves the lifestyle of the community.

Beacon Capital Partners

Waste Management Corporate Headquarters

Location:Houston, Texas , United States
Architect:Perkins&Will; Houston, Texas
Contractor:Skanska USA; Houston, Texas
Installer:BakerTriangle; Houston, Texas
Photographer:©Peter Molick /
Tiles:Rockfon Sonar®, Rockfon® Infinity™ Standard Perimeter Trim
Grids:Chicago Metallic® 4500 Ultraline™ 9/16"