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Skyscraper Sunday: LEED Platinum Banner Bank Building

Banner Bank Building

Well actually, it’s more of a mid-rise, but 11 stories in Boise is about as skyscraper as it gets.  According to Gary Christensen, Christensen Corporation owner and Banner Bank Building developer, "we created a beautiful, high-performance building that’s good for the environment.  And it didn’t cost us any more to do it."  Specifically, the 195,000 sf, $25 million building was built to spec (ulation), so the ability to strike market-competitive lease deals was paramount on the project.  Also, on July 27, 2006, Banner Bank Building received the coveted LEED-CS Platinum certification, earning 49 out of a possible 62 points in the Core and Shell Development system.  In tangible savings, the building uses 65% less energy and 80% less water. 

The following is a list of some of the many green features built into the Banner Bank Building:  proximately situated near public transportation access; indoor bicycle storage and individual shower rooms; drought tolerant vegetation and automated irrigation system with motion sensors; state-of-the-art water reclamation system and conserving water fixtures, systems, and mechanical equipment; geothermal heat system and underfloor air distribution HVAC; 75%+ construction waste was separated, collected, and recycled; the building was constructed using locally sourced materials and 40%+ recycled content materials; zero- to low-VOC indoor finish materials; dimmable energy-efficient lighting; and a biodiesel fuel-powered backup generator. 

Extra Links:
+USGBC Project Profile LEED Facts
+HDR Project Summary Page
+Better Bricks Interview with Gary Christensen

Skyscraper Sunday: 1180 Peachtree, One Symphony Center

Symphony_main_1 The subject of this week’s Skyscraper Sunday is the striking 1180 Peachtree in Atlanta, Georgia.  Designed by Pickard Chilton Architects, 1180 Peachtree rises 41-stories with a 119-foot lighted veil at the top.  It was also one of the first offices nationally to receive LEED-CS Silver pre-certification for its use of recycled materials, encouragement of alternative transportation, minimization of environmental impact by sourcing materials locally, and attention to using no- or low-VOC adhesives, sealants, and carpets.  Developed by Hines, the building has vegetation on the roof to absorb rainwater, store it in underground storage, and use for landscaping (eliminating the need for city water).  With about 670,000 sf of office + 35,000 sf of retail, this building is a gem in the Atlanta market.  In the middle of 2006, the local real estate community did a double take when 1180 Peachtree sold for $400 per sf.  Some people said this was part of a trend (good office market in Atlanta, lots of capital, etc.), but I think the selling price was a reflection of the excellence of the property.  It’s a flagship, a trophy property, a green property.  Green properties are (1) new, (2) well-designed, (3) easy to lease, and (4) fit well with all companies.  It’s not hard to sell an amazing, great-looking, stabilized asset with low vacancy. 

Happy Green Homeowners, LEED Silver CarMax, + Godin on No Impact Man (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Study Shows Green Homeowners Are Happier With Their Homes and Recommending Them; Cost Savings are a Top Motivating Factor for Buying Green. 
  2. CarMax Receives LEED Silver Certification and Becomes First Company in Virginia to Construct a LEED Building for Corporate Headquarters.
  3. Seth Godin on the No Impact Man; Zero is the New Black

LEED Platinum Sweetwater, A Model of Economics + Design

Sweetwater2  Sweetwater

Back in December, the USGBC awarded Sweetwater Creek State Visitors Center the coveted Platinum level LEED-NC, making it just the 20th building in the world to receive the USGBC’s highest certification.  Sweetwater was designed by Gerding Collaborative, an Atlanta-based architecture firm, to reduce the building’s potable water usage by 77% and energy usage by 51%.  At these numbers, when compared to a similar building, Sweetwater avoids about 27 tons of carbon emissions annually.  Plus, there’s the financial case for the building.  Sweetwater was completed at $175 per sf, which I understand is highly competitive for the area. 

In the words of Dan Gerding, AIA, Managing Principal of Gerding Collaborative, "The Sweetwater Project is a great example of how a new way of looking at design is good for the building’s owner, good for the people who use the building on a daily basis, and good for the environment."  His firm walks the talk.  About 70% of the firm’s technical staff is LEED Accredited (LEED-AP). 

The building has a slew of classic green features such as a 10.5 KW photovoltaic array, vegetated roof, composting toilet system, drip irrigation system, and rainwater collection system.  Also, for the architects out there, Sweetwater is one of the first LEED-Platinum buildings to be designed using 3D "virtual building" technology, Archicad 10.  I understand the technology allowed different members of the team to visualize the project in context to provide design and technology solutions more effectively than if the project were designed with the typical 2D approach. 

Extra Links:
Sweetwater Platinum LEED Design Press Release

Interview: Steve Glenn – CEO of LivingHomes, by Core77

Steve Glenn Broadcast

[Run time = 26 min.]  I’ve posted about LivingHomes here, here, and here.  Well, Steve Glenn is the company’s CEO and Founder and he has some interesting things to say.  If you’re still unsure about his green cred, he built the first LEED Platinum home in the United States (with the design help of Ray Kappe).  Enjoy…

One Bryant Park, Greenest Skyscraper in the World? (S2)

One Bryant Park Rendering

If you’re going to office in what looks to be the greenest skyscraper in the country, you should also have a sustainable business strategy to go along with it.  One Bryant Park, soon to be known as the Bank of America Tower, is the perfect place for a company that just announced a $20B initiative to support environmental lending.  Designed by Cook + Fox Architects and developed by the Durst Organization, One Bryant Park is shooting for LEED Platinum certification.  It’s a 2.1 million sf, 54-story, crystalline office tower located right in midtown Manhattan and is slated for completion in 2008. 

ABC News recently ran an article on some of the more interesting green features of the building.  Interestingly, it will only cost about 1-2% extra (of a total $1.2B) to include all the green additions, but those are expected to be paid for within a 2-4 year window as a result of saved energy expenses.  That’s the business case for green building.  There will be rainwater capture, floor-to-ceiling windows for natural lighting, advanced double wall technology to allow light and block heat, air cleaned of 95% of its particle matter, a floor duct air system controllable in each room or office, three state-of-the-art natural gas fuel cells to create on-site energy, building concrete made of 45% blast furnace slag for stronger construction, and daylight dimming and LED lights for reduced electric usage.  The result:  these green additions have the anticipated benefits of reducing energy consumption by 50%, reducing potable water consumption by 50%, reducing storm water contribution by 95%, and using about 50% recycled materials in construction.  That’s a lighter footprint. 

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