Denver Excelling in LEED Green Building Development
The Mile High City has a decidedly green tinge
By Ashley Katz
The Mile High City has a decidedly green tinge. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) says nearly 30 projects in Denver have achieved LEED green building certification since 2010, and two of these developments achieved LEED’s highest rating, Platinum.
Colorado's culture of sustainability and conservation are part of its DNA; individual cities like Denver clearly understand the importance of green building as a part of that culture,” says Deb Kleinman, executive director of USGBC Colorado Chapter. “From the largest commercial buildings to schools and universities, and individual homes, Denver is embracing LEED and its comprehensive approach and process for green building.”
There are about 230 LEED-certified and -registered projects in Denver. Notable newly certified projects in 2010 include the Wells Fargo Center; Legacy Plaza, home of Gates’ Corporation’s world headquarters; the Colorado Convention Center; and Denver Public Schools’ Evie Garrett Dennis E-12 Campus. Xcel Energy’s new headquarters, 1800 Larimer, and the Group14 (formerly Enermodal Reilly) office both achieved LEED Platinum.
In the first month of 2011, three buildings in the Denver Metro Area were certified, including the Auraria Science Building, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment building and Colorado Center Tower Two.
The LEED green building program sets the benchmark for what is possible with high-performing buildings,” says Scot Horst, senior VP of LEED, USGBC. “Denver has been a pioneer in the green building efforts, setting examples and showcasing new innovation with its many LEED projects.”
Denver has been a longtime supporter of green building initiatives and legislation. In 2006, it was the host of the USGBC's annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and the following year, then Mayor John W. Hickenlooper enacted Executive Order 123, requiring new municipal building construction over 5,000 square feet to earn LEED Silver. Mayor Hickenlooper also was a member of the USGBC's Mayors’ Alliance for Green Schools, a coalition of mayors seeking to promote the benefits of green schools in their cities and towns.
Seeing former Mayor Hickenlooper now in the Governor’s chair is a testament to his leadership,” added Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair, USGBC. “He continues to be a supporter and leader in green building initiatives.”
USGBC's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings. More than 40,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising over 7.9 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 117 countries. In addition, nearly 10,000 homes have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with nearly 45,000 more homes registere.
By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community. For the full list of LEED-certified projects nationally visit www.usgbc.org.
About the Author
Ashley Katz is the Communications Manager for the U.S. Green Building Council.