Top 10 LEED-Certified Buildings in Texas in 2020

8 min read

Drawing on USGBC data, CPE compiled a roundup of some of the state’s highest-scoring office projects.

A new year and new rankings for the sustainability efforts in the office sector, where owners continued to invest in energy efficiency and sustainability features, despite their assets laying almost empty for nearly a year. We’re opening 2021’s LEED-based series with the top LEED-certified buildings in Texas in 2020.

Data from the U.S. Green Building Council shows that 139 projects received the certification from the organization’s program in the Lone Star State last year. Combined, these projects represent more than 41.7 million gross square feet of space. Offices continued to lead rankings, followed by educational facilities and warehouses/distribution centers. Take a look at the list below, featuring some of the highest-scoring office projects in the state.  

Rank Project Name Certification Date Certification Rating System Certification Level Gross Area (sqft) Street Name City
1 USAA Bank Services Building 2020-02-06 LEED v4.1 O+M Platinum 600,754 9800 Fredericksburg Road San Antonio
2 816 Congress 2020-04-10 LEED v4.1 O+M Platinum 470,389 816 Congress Ave. Austin
3 The LORD Green Building 2020-05-10 LEED v4.1 O+M: EB Platinum 6,663 10807 E. Northwest Highway Dallas
4 USAA Home Office Building 2020-02-06 LEED v4.1 O+M Gold 4,331,743 9800 Fredericksburg Road San Antonio
5 Trammell Crow Center 2020-09-02 LEED-EB:OM v2009 Gold 1,245,324 2001 Ross Ave. Dallas
6 The Colonnade 2020-05-07 LEED-EB:OM v2009 Gold 1,147,349 15301 Dallas Parkway Addison
7 Pioneer Natural Resources – Headquarters 2020-03-09 LEED-NC v2009 Gold 1,131,400 777 Hidden Ridge Irving
8 Two Lincoln Centre 2020-10-22 LEED v4 O+M Gold 664,100 5420 LBJ Freeway Dallas
9 Three Lincoln Centre 2020-10-22 LEED v4 O+M Gold 602,056 5430 LBJ Freeway Dallas
10 Fidelity – One Destiny Way 2020-02-06 LEED v4.1 O+M Gold 617,549 One Destiny Way Westlake

1. & 4. USAA Bank Services Building & USAA Home Office Building, San Antonio – LEED Platinum & Gold

USAA Corporate Headquarters

A 600,754-square-foot component of the massive 4.5 million-square-foot office asset located at 9800 Fredericksburg Road—better known as USAA’s headquarters—earned the highest level of LEED certification in February 2020. The award is, in fact, a recertification, following two LEED Gold recognitions received in 2012 and 2019. The remaining square footage of the property was also recertified at the same time, to the gold level, also following two other certifications, in 2013 and 2019, respectively. The McDermott Building is also the largest financial office building in the U.S. to earn Energy Star certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an award it has received every year since 2009.

USAA’s commitment to the environment is reflected on multiple levels: Through recycling efforts, the company saves more than 130 million gallons of Edwards Aquifer water every year at its San Antonio corporate office, which is crucial to the region considering it is the source of drinking water for 2 million people and is the primary water supply for agriculture and industry. About 70 million gallons are saved annually, as the company has used recycled water for landscaping since 2004. Nowadays, USAA also uses recycled water for the building’s cooling towers, which conserves another 60 million gallons per year. In fact, USAA Real Estate, the company’s real estate investment arm, has instituted an energy and water analytics program that uses metering to measure energy and water consumption and efficiency at 15-minute intervals. Using that data, it benchmarks its properties to detect trends outside normal patterns.

Since 1977, the company has provided employees with the USAA Vanpool Program, which is an affordable ride to and from work. Moreover, the company’s members have opted for online document delivery since 2019, which helps reduce paper consumption and overall expenses.

2. 816 Congress, Austin – LEED Platinum

816 Congress

Cousins’ 470,389-square-foot asset was recertified in April 2020 to the Platinum level, following two LEED Gold awards received in 2018 and 2019. It is also Energy Star labeled.

The 20-story office building was completed in 1983 in the central business district, providing easy access to the Texas Capitol, Federal Courthouse, Interstate-35 and MOPAC Expressway. In 1994 and 2008, the property underwent cosmetic renovations, and a $3 million outdoor terrace and lounge was added on the 15th floor in 2012. Notable tenants in the building include Nossaman, CohnReznick Capital and Eric Wright & Associates.

3. LORD Green Building, Dallas – LEED Platinum 

LORD Green Building. Image via Google Street View

The 6,663-square-foot office asset located at 10807 E. Northwest Highway is the headquarters of LORD Green Real Estate Strategies. In May 2020, the property received the LEED Platinum certification for existing buildings. It also holds BREEAM USA-In Use and Energy Stars labels.

The building dates back to 1959 and underwent upgrades in 2006 and 2013. Since 2017, it has been under LORD Green Strategies’ ownership and improvements have continued. The new owner retrofitted the building’s LED system, installed a weather-based irrigation controller and added secure bicycle storage. Water is preserved through the property’s smart irrigation controller as well as through efficient plumbing fixtures. A waste management program recycles consumables made of metal, paper, plastics and glass, electronics and batteries, and organic material is locally composted. Additional sustainable features include proximity to public transport, operable windows, landscaping with native plants and shade trees, an outdoor space area for employees and a dog park with turfgrass.

5. Trammell Crow Center, Dallas – LEED Gold

Trammell Crow Center

This 1.2 million-square-foot building received its third LEED certification in September 2020. Previously, the USGBC had recognized its sustainability commitments in 2010 and 2015, with LEED Silver and LEED Gold certifications, respectively. Trammell Crow Center received Energy Star recognition from 2008 to 2016.

After three years under construction, the 50-story postmodern skyscraper designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill opened in 1985. Its granite facade and black pyramid on top made it one of the most identifiable buildings in the U.S. Since 2011, the tower is owned by JP Morgan Asset Management, according to Commercial Edge data. In 2019, a $140 million, two-year renovation led by HKS and HOK adapted it into a mixed-use property by adding a multifamily component and a hotel. The upgrade also included 1.4 acres of outdoor space with 122 shaded seats, which increased walkability and livability at the property, while also mitigating the heat-island effect. Notable tenants in the building include ORIX, Common Desk, Invesco, Goldman Sachs and FTI Consulting.

6. Colonnade, Dallas – LEED Gold

The Colonnade

Last May, the 1.1 million-square-foot property located at 15301 Dallas Parkway in Addison was recertified to the gold level. Previously, the asset had been LEED-certified at the silver and gold levels in 2010 and 2015, respectively.

Consisting of three towers connected via a three-story, climate-controlled vaulted glass atrium, which includes seating areas, landscaping and water features. The office asset won the BOMA Building of the Year award in 2003 and 2004, and again in 2012 and 2013. Built in 1982, The Colonnade underwent cosmetic renovations in 2007 and 2014. Under the current ownership of Brooklyn-based Fortis Property Group—according to Commercial Edge—renovations continued in excess of $32 million. Tenants in the building include RMG Network, Google, Zurich American Insurance, Farmers Insurance and Accounting Principals.

7. Pioneer Natural Resources Headquarters, Irving – LEED Gold

Pioneer Natural Resources Headquarters

Completed in 2019, the 1.1 million-square-foot, 10-story office property at 777 Hidden Ridge has earned the LEED Gold certification in March 2020. KDC developed the five-building complex as the headquarters for oil and gas company Pioneer Natural Resources. Pioneer has signed a 10-year lease with the owner, PRP Real Estate Investment Management.

The project has been targeting LEED certification from the early stages of development, so its design emphasizes the land’s natural surroundings through amenities such as an outdoor fitness terrace, soccer pitch, multisport court, fitness trail and stocked fishing lakes. The original mesquite forests were preserved, which is a bonus to the occupants, as more than 90 percent of the interior areas have direct outside views. During development, 98 percent of construction waste was sorted and recycled, and presently, rainfall and surface runoff water is filtered to improve stormwater quality.

READ ALSO: Managing Megadevelopments: An Insider’s View

8 & 9. Two & Three Lincoln Centre, Dallas – LEED Gold

Two Lincoln Centre

The two phases of the massive Lincoln Center at 5420 and 5430 Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway were completed in 1981 and 1984, respectively. Spanning 664,100 and 602,056 square feet, the office assets are both at their second LEED certification. Prior to the LEED Gold award received in October 2020, Nuveen Real Estate’s buildings first received a LEED certification to the silver level in 2015. In addition, Lincoln Centre has been an Energy Star-certified building from 2009 to 2018 and a BOMA360-designated building from 2011 until 2017. Notable tenants in the building include MetLife, Societe Generale, Northwestern Mutual, Washington Federal and North Dallas Clinic.

The property’s park-like landscape prompted the management team to hire Banyan Water to calculate and deliver the needed amount of water. As such, more than six years ago, they installed on-site controllers, flow monitors and weather tracking technology that integrated with the property’s existing irrigation system. This translated into a drop of 66 percent in irrigation water use. Moreover, real-time monitoring of water management tracked down leaks, which, once resolved, resulted in more than 500,000 gallons of water preservation per year, in addition to the prevention of leak-related property damage.  

READ ALSO: A Deep Dive Into Water Management Strategies

10. Fidelity – One Destiny Way, Fort Worth – LEED Gold

Fidelity – One Destiny Way

Completed in 1999, Fidelity Investments’ property received the LEED Gold award last February, upgrading from the LEED Silver certification received in 2014. The asset also held Energy Star designations from 2011 to 2014, excluding 2013.

The Beck Group developed the four-story property on an 83-acre lot. Built of native stone and glass, Fidelity – One Destiny Way features three main wings that radiate from a central nucleus and are oriented on the site to maximize views of the surrounding forest, meadows and ponds. Closure to the natural environment is enhanced through hiking trails that run through the naturally wooded campus.

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