LEED

Going LEED: How Denver South (and Colorado) became a national leader in green construction

Colorado ranks sixth in the U.S. for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building, with 17,042,295 of Certified Gross Square Footage, according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) 2019 national ranking.

Although construction of LEED-certified buildings can be more expensive up front, they yield cost savings over time. According to the USGBC, certified LEED buildings have as much as 20 percent lower maintenance costs than typical commercial buildings. LEED-certified buildings also know how to fill a room, or rather, an office building with tenants.

Colorado is home to state-of-the-art new construction and newly reinvented sustainable buildings that range from office space to higher-ed campus landmarks and visitor centers. Here’s what you should know about LEED-certified buildings in Colorado.

What is LEED?

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, “Green building is the practice of designing, constructing and operating buildings to maximize occupant health and productivity, use fewer resources, reduce waste and negative environmental impacts, and decrease lifecycle costs.” LEED is a certification that measures and recognizes those factors, which can be applied to new or existing construction. There are four LEED certification level designations: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Certified.

What does LEED look like?

1515 Wynkoop, an eight-story 306,791 square-foot-office building in downtown Denver, was awarded LEED Platinum status in 2017.  According to a press release about the achievement, its sustainability initiatives include:

  •      A 50 percent monthly diversion of waste from landfills through recycling programs
  •      A reduction of electricity by approximately 69,520 kWh each year through a garage re-lamp project
  •      63% of building occupants using alternative transportation modes, supported by electric vehicle charging stations, ample bike storage, and locker rooms and showers

LEED certification is not limited to new construction and can also be achieved through renovations. For example, the Colorado State Capitol and the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind‘s Jones Hall are both more than one hundred years old and are both LEED Gold Certified.

LEED in Denver South

As Denver South becomes a hub for metro-area office space, its office space is getting healthier and LEED is the new standard.

For example, 6900 Layton Avenue, a forthcoming office building near the Belleview Station platform, broke ground in the fall of 2018. This LEED Gold building will provide a walkable urban environment (in part because of its close proximity to the light-rail), a large fitness facility with exterior views, a private yoga room and lockers, and bike storage. The building is set to open in 2020 and will be home to Fortune 500 company Newmont Mining Corporation. Its neighbor will be Western Union, whose new headquarters is located at One Belleview Station (OBS), also a LEED Gold Building.

In a state that’s one of the top ten healthiest in the nation, it’s no surprise that healthy buildings get the popular vote. And, while there is lots of new construction, many old buildings are becoming LEED certified, too. As the region grows, perhaps this new sustainability standard will help us all breathe a little easier.

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