Top 10 LEED-Certified Buildings in Colorado in 2019

A list of Colorado's highest-ranking LEED-accredited projects of 2019, based on USGBC data.

We continue our review of the top LEED-certified office projects of 2019, with Colorado’s top-ranking LEED-certified buildings. The state ranked highest in the U.S. Green Building Council’s top 10 states for LEED certification in 2019, with 102 projects certified, totaling some 24 million square feet and equal to nearly 5 certified gross square feet per capita.

Using data from the USGBC’s official website, we put together a list of the top-scoring projects that received the highest levels of certification, LEED Platinum and LEED Gold, and we discovered that the number of certifications given throughout the state almost doubled in 2019 from 2018. Specifically, last year, 58 projects were awarded the elite nomination, up from 33 in 2018. These developments ranged from wellness and hospitality properties to residential buildings and office towers.

From this lineup we sorted the office segment, and extracted the top 10 highest-ranking projects by the number of score points. Below is the list of our findings.

Project Name Street City Points Achieved Cert Level Cert Date
Flight Building 3575 Ringsby Court Denver 82 Platinum 3/26/2019
DaVita World Headquarters 16 Chestnut St. Denver 82 Platinum 6/18/2019
1800 Larimer 1800 Larimer St. Denver 81 Platinum 9/16/2019
The LAB on Platte 2420 17th St. Denver 70 Gold 8/20/2019
Elephant Corral 1420 Wazee St. Denver 67 Gold 4/15/2019
Republic Plaza 370 17th St. Denver 65 Gold 6/17/2019
50 Fifty DTC 5050 S. Syracuse St. Denver 62 Gold 9/3/2019
Visa Administration Building 8910 Ridgeline Blvd. Highlands Ranch 61 Gold 3/29/2019
17th Street Plaza 1225 17th St. Denver 61 Gold 12/13/2019
The Quadrant Building 5445 DTC Parkway Greenwood Village 61 Gold 10/15/2019

Flight Building – Denver – LEED Platinum

Flight Building

Zeppelin Development is the owner and developer of this 140,000-square-foot low-rise office asset located at 3575 Ringsby Court. Dynia is the project’s architect. In March 2019, Flight won the LEED Platinum certification for new construction, with a total of 82 score points, sharing the top spot with DaVita World Headquarters.

The four-story property is part of the Taxi campus in the city’s River North Art District and has its own 135kWh solar photovoltaic system that offsets 20 percent of the building’s electricity. It also boasts an expansive green roof. Location played an important part in the project’s green building achievement, as it is optimal for occupants’ access to basic services and public transport. Additional infrastructure was created to promote alternative transportation methods and reduce occupants’ carbon footprint through bike racks, charging facilities, preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles and reduced parking capacity from zoning requirements.

READ ALSO: Top 10 LEED-Certified Buildings in California

Building materials were also carefully selected—recycled content and materials manufactured and extracted from within 500 miles of the building were preferred, as this reduced both demand on virgin materials and transportation-related emissions. To reduce water use, water-efficient flow and flush fixtures were installed—these account for a 40 percent reduction in indoor water use, which is equal to more than 610,000 gallons of water annually. In addition, strategic landscaping design and the use of native and adaptive plants resulted in additional savings of more than 76,000 gallons of water each year, or a 52 percent reduction of irrigation demands.

BOA Technology, a Denver-based maker of athletic equipment fastening and fitting systems, leased 100,000 square feet of the space. Other tenants include Juno Financial, Larkburger, Denver Design Build and Vertix Builders.

DaVita World Headquarters  Denver – LEED Platinum

DaVita World Headquarters

The health-care company is the anchor tenant of this Gensler-designed, 460,000-square-foot commercial glass building located at 16 Chestnut St. DaVita leased more than 300,000 square feet in the 19-story building and has its own entrance and lobby in Invesco’s property, which is the third core and shell building in Denver to earn the LEED Platinum designation. The project was awarded the certification last June with a scorecard totaling 82 points.

The sustainable features that earned it USGBC’s award include on-site solar, efficient lighting strategies, Energy Star appliances, the use of recycled materials, indoor air quality management, and a roof terrace on the 12th floor that incorporates local and drought-tolerant plants. The property also includes water-saving features and bicycle parking.

In 2016, Invesco acquired the asset from developer East West Partners and Starwood Capital Group. In addition to leasing space in one of Denver’s greenest buildings, DaVita’s attention to sustainability continues—in May 2019, the company announced its commitment to power its North American operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2022.

1800 Larimer – Denver – LEED Platinum

1800 Larimer

The 22-story, 500,000-square-foot tower is the first major high-rise office building completed in Denver’s Central Business District since the mid-1980s. Owned by Invesco, the asset achieved LEED Platinum certification with a scorecard of 81 points.

The project features underfloor air distribution systems, which improve the occupants’ health and comfort, and a 17,000-square-foot landscaped green roof above the garage that contributes to a substantial reduction of the heat island effect, while also reintroducing open space and natural habitat with native plantings. A structure below the green roof holds stormwater detention and a water quality tank that filters stormwater and provides irrigation water for the plants on the terrace. Moreover, floor-to-ceiling Low-E insulating glass allows for sunlight to be used throughout the day, and advanced engineering systems create and monitor a high-quality indoor environment.

Invesco Real Estate acquired the tower in 2011 from Westfield Co. for $213 million, according to Yardi Matrix data. Xcel Energy anchors the building and occupies 350,000 square feet. Other notable tenants include Newmark Knight Frank, KRG Capital Partners and Citywide Banks.

The LAB on Platte – Denver – LEED Gold

The Lab on Platte

Located at 2420 17th St. in Denver’s Highland submarket, this low-rise office building earned LEED Gold certification last August with a scorecard of 70 points. A few months later, BlackRock acquired it from Soma Capital Partners for nearly $46 million.

The 78,639-square-foot, four-story property’s main tenant is WeWork, which leases 50,000 square feet. Maple Multi-Family Operations and Poke House are also part of the tenant roster. To attain its green building status, the LAB on Platte features bike storage, electric vehicle charging station and enhanced HVAC standards.

Elephant Corral – Denver – LEED Gold

Elephant Corral

Built in 1880, this brick-and-timber beauty surpassed last year’s LEED Gold certification with Platinum recertification this February, jumping from 67 to 82 score points. The Unico Properties asset is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing structure to the Lower Downtown Historic District.

The current owner acquired it in 2016 from Stoltz Real Estate Partners for $13 million, and embarked on a multiyear overhaul by replacing the 130-year-old building’s inefficient infrastructure and systems. Elephant Corral now features retrofitted interior and exterior common areas with LED lighting, building automation system controls, smart thermostats and a new, high-efficiency boiler. The chilled and hot water valves have been replaced, as well, and are connected to the BAS. Unico also installed automatic outside air dampers connected to exhaust fans throughout the ceiling, to pull out excess heat in the summer. HVAC control and thermal comfort have been upgraded with direct digital controls, variable air volume boxes and carbon dioxide sensors. These improvements combined have resulted in 37 percent energy savings since 2015. Tenants enjoying these upgrades include Strava, MeetMindful and Mike Wright Gallery.

Republic Plaza – Denver – LEED Gold

Republic Plaza

This iconic tower rises 56 stories above ground, making it the tallest building in Denver and the entire Rocky Mountain region. It encompasses 1.2 million square feet of office space and three retail levels that house shops, restaurants and service businesses. In June 2019, the Brookfield Properties development earned LEED Gold certification with a 65-point scorecard.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the 1984-built skyscraper at 370 17th St. was constructed of reinforced concrete, clad in Sardinian granite. Following its 2016 comprehensive renovation, Republic Plaza has earned trio of certifications: LEED Gold, BOMA 360 and the Energy Star rating. The revamp focused on efficiency—the property gained points for plumbing fixture and fitting efficiency, optimization of energy efficiency performance, emissions reduction reporting, recycling services, lighting control and indoor air quality, daylight and views, and for alternative commuting transportation.

In May 2014, MetLife Real Estate Investment acquired a 50 percent ownership stake in the property for $240 million. Notable tenants include Encana Corp., Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, DCP Midstream, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America and Morrison & Foerster.

50 Fifty DTC – Denver – LEED Gold

50 Fifty DTC

The 12-story Class A office building at 5050 S. Syracuse St. earned LEED Gold recognition with a scorecard of 62 points. Designed by Clutch Design Studio, the inspiration behind it comes from the desire to replicate the feeling of being on a ship’s deck and looking down at the hull as it cuts through the water, an effect achieved through the materials used on the property’s skin—Sierra white granite panels and blue Viracon glass panels.

Sustainable features that earned the award for this Corum Real Estate Group asset include mechanical systems that translate into 26 percent energy cost savings to tenants, highly efficient LED lighting—which provides 38 percent energy reduction—water-efficient landscaping and plumbing fixtures that reduce water use by 20 percent, the use of environmentally friendly and Low-E certified building materials, and natural daylighting.

The 185,000-square-foot building is divided into six stories of office above eight stories of parking—six are above ground and two are underground. In December 2017, the owner self-financed a $40 million construction loan. Tenants include Pacific Western Bank and YES! Communities.

READ ALSO: Top 10 LEED-Certified Buildings in Texas in 2019

Visa Administration Building – Highlands Ranch – LEED Gold

Visa Administration Building

This owner-occupied, 146,116-square-foot office building achieved LEED Gold recertification with a scorecard totaling 61 points. Visa acquired the asset from The Koll Co. in 2003 for nearly $53 million, according to Yardi Matrix data.

The property, at 8910 S. Ridgeline Blvd., includes features such as water use reduction, sustainable site selection and development, responsible materials selection and waste management, enhanced indoor environmental quality and energy-efficient operations. In addition, the asset has been Energy Star-rated since 2008 and earned its first LEED Gold certification in 2012.

According to Visa’s 2019 sustainability report, the company has reduced direct greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent from 2017, and achieved a 75 percent improvement in direct emissions intensity per employee since 2009. The company also announced its enrollment in renewable energy programs in Colorado.

17th Street Plaza – Denver – LEED Gold

17th Street Plaza

Situated at the corner of 17th Street and Larimer Street in Denver’s CBD, the 32-story Class A office tower received LEED Gold recertification in December with a scorecard of 61 points, and has earned an Energy Star rating every year since 2003. The property’s first LEED certification dates back to 2016.

The building features energy-efficiency systems, indoor air quality management systems, recycling programs, waste management systems, emissions reduction reporting systems, an outdoor plaza and bicycle parking.

Completed in 1982, with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as the architect, the asset was renovated in 2004. Equity Commonwealth acquired it from J.P. Morgan Asset Management in 2009 for $134 million, according to Yardi Matrix data. Notable tenants include Salesforce, Danone, JLL, Gensler and Fidelity.

The Quadrant Building – Greenwood Village – LEED Gold

The Quadrant Building

Also scoring 61 points, this 14-story CalSTRS asset earned LEED Gold certification in October 2019. Located at 5445 DTC Parkway, the property was built in 1985 and underwent renovations in 2010 and 2017. In addition to USGBC’s designation, the Quadrant Building is Energy Star-rated and holds a BOMA 360 recognition.

The 371,983-square-foot asset garnered points for light pollution reduction, alternative commuting transportation, water performance measurement, indoor plumbing fixture and fitting efficiency, energy-efficiency systems, indoor air quality and overall innovation in operations.  

CalSTRS acquired the asset in 2006 from EQ Office for more than $63 million. Tenants include U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Montgomery Little & Soran, Regus and CM Select Insurance.

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