Tag Archives: LEED


Arizona becomes a top state for green building

Arizona real estate is LEED-ing the way, breaking into the Top 10 in the nation for the most projects per capita certified LEED for its green building initiative.

LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building certification program where projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), created to promote sustainability in the construction industry, established LEED to exhibit projects notable for high environmental and health achievements.

Fifteen new LEED certifications, combining for a total of 2,810,153 square feet of space, have been LEED certified in Arizona since the beginning of 2015, says Aline Peterson, a spokeswoman for USGBC.

The Arizona chapter of USGBC opened in 2002 and its founder Charlie Popeck, currently president of Green Ideas Sustainability Consultants, says “it has been refreshing to see more people are getting into (green building).”

Public developers have been among the leaders pioneering LEED building.

“Believe it or not, they are spending our tax dollars wisely,” Popeck says. Some higher education establishments, municipalities and the federal government have established minimum LEED certification requirements.

Public developers have a greater awareness about the importance of life cycle costs, says Bryan Dunn, market sector executive at Kitchell. The evaluation of a 30-year life cycle of a building shows 2 percent of the overall cost is attributed to construction, 6 percent for operations and maintenance and the remaining 92 percent is attributed to personnel cost, Dunn says. Many experts agree LEED buildings increase workplace productivity and engagement and, according to Dunn, “municipalities understand the importance of this and are willing to make the investments in their human capital.”

Some private developers are skeptical of green building because they do not feel they have the luxury or incentive to build green. However, a variety of tax benefits and incentives are available for green buildings, according to the USGBC. Examples of these incentives include tax credits, grants, expedited building permits and reductions or waivers in fees.

LEED-certified buildings use 25 percent less energy and have a 19 percent reduction in aggregate operational costs compared to non-certified buildings, per the USGBC.

“The struggle with LEED is it takes a lot of moving parts coming together to make a LEED project work,” says Thomas Cochran, the regional manager at Energy Inspectors Inc. It forces people to get together earlier in the design phase and may be a shift in process from developers.

The “sexy thing” right now is energy efficiency, Popeck says, and green building will pay off in the long run.

Education and the expulsion of the “myth” that LEED building is expensive will increase private sector activity, says Dale Benz, director of facilities consulting at FM Solutions. LEED for the private sector “boils down to the bottom line,” Benz says. With a good practical design and operation, you can get a silver certification with minimal or no additional cost, experts say.

“Most developers tell me they don’t want to pay the money for a plaque,” Dunn says. Their mindset can change if a market demands green building and developers can generate higher rents, maintain higher occupancy and lower operational cost, he says.

“There are a  lot of stakeholders concerned about sustainability throughout Arizona,” says Lisa Estrada, board member for the Arizona chapter of the USGBC. “To get more on board, we just need to promote it and education people about its value.”

The continuation of the verification of the value of LEED building will cause the demand for LEED buildings to increase over time, according to experts. If a dollar amount can be attached to energy savers and sustainability, stakeholders will be able to see the value, Cochran says.

Getting more appraisers certified to validate energy and solar features on projects will help, Cochran says. “The key is to get all the players the industry to identify the value,” he says.


How to save green on green building

Experts say the key to saving money when building green is remembering LEED programs are project specific and what works for one project may not benefit another. Here are some tips to save green while building green.
• Start and the process early. You can keep costs lower if you know what you want. This will prevent you from having to design the building more than once. Look at what you are planning and see how that fits into the overall LEED requirements; employing energy efficiency may not be too far off the map.
• Putting in time pays off. The more engaged the end users are at the beginning of a project, the greater the return is over time. The architect and contractor need to have a full grasp on who will occupy the building, how it will operate and future employees’ behavior.
• Do not just purchase points. Always choose impactful elements that give opportunity for payoff, rather than including something just to fill a requirement. Find solutions that most benefit your project.
• Be realistic about your staff. You can take green building a step too far and actually waste more energy if the staff maintaining the building lacks qualifications. The complexity of the building needs to match staff skill.


Jack Albert joins Johnson Carlier

Johnson Carlier, a locally-based general contractor, announced today that Jack Albert has  joined the company as Senior Project Manager. Albert is a LEED® Accredited Professional with preconstruction and construction management expertise. He has 25+ years of experience in the Arizona construction industry.

Albert has been involved in Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) projects in Arizona since its inception as a procurement method in 2000. His experience includes working on 100+ educational facilities with numerous public school districts and charter schools. He also has experience with retail, office, industrial and religious type projects.

Chris Johnson, CEO of Johnson Carlier said today, “I’m pleased to have Jack join the team as his specific expertise will be valuable to our upcoming company goals”.

Albert is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering. He takes a personal approach to interfacing with owners, architects, local communities and other parties involved with the Arizona A/E/C industry.

Camelback at 24th, Hines

24th at Camelback Awarded LEED Platinum Certification

The Phoenix office of Hines, the international real estate firm, announced today that 24th at Camelback II has achieved platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Existing Buildings (EB) Rating System. The property, owned by Hines and an East Coast pension fund advised by Invesco, is the first LEED EB Platinum, and most efficient, multi-tenant property in Arizona.

The 11-story, 307,000-square-foot Class A office building was developed by Hines in 2010, and is located in the heart of Phoenix’s Camelback submarket.

In addition to earning LEED Platinum, 24th at Camelback II earned the ENERGY STAR® label in 2012. With a current ENERGY STAR rating of 93, the campus is 46 percent more energy efficient than the average U.S. office building. This translates to an estimated $1.43 per rentable square foot in annual energy cost savings and annual greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to removing 557 passenger vehicles from the road.

Green features and programs include: reduced heat island effect through covered parking and reflective roofing; use of low-VOC materials and finishes; a 30 percent reduction in indoor, potable water usage; electronic waste recycling programs; a 60 percent reduction in landscaping-related water consumption; enhanced indoor air quality systems; and a construction waste diversion rate greater than 50 percent. Additionally, Hines offers its proprietary GREEN OFFICE for Tenants program, which is designed to assist tenants in greening their office space.

Energy savings, equipment efficiencies, water conservation and recycling programs directly benefit the tenants in terms of lower operating costs. By achieving LEED Platinum, the local project team demonstrates to our owners, tenants, prospective tenants and the community that this property is being managed to the highest standard of excellence,” said Hines Director John Orsak.

Global Sustainability Officer Gary Holtzer, added, “Hines has a long track record of commitment to sustainable development, and active leadership in the USGBC LEED programs. The 24th at Camelback II building is the firm’s latest commitment to sustainable development in Phoenix.”

Hines is a leader in Phoenix for sustainable real estate development and operations. 24th at Camelback II’s sister building, 24th at Camelback I, also managed by Hines, is ENERGY STAR labeled and certified LEED Gold under the Existing Building rating system. The US Airways headquarters building in Tempe, which was developed and is managed by Hines, is LEED Gold certified and is one of just five properties in the United States (and the only one in Arizona) to have earned 11 consecutive ENERGY STAR labels—one for every year since the building’s first full year of operations in 2000. Hines also owns and manages Renaissance Square, a two-building, LEED EB Gold, ENERGY STAR-labeled office complex in downtown Phoenix.

A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan

Wells Fargo opens LEED-Silver store in Tempe

Wells Fargo announced the opening of its newest Arizona Community Banking store, at 20 E. University St. in Tempe, on June 3.  The 2,249-square-foot location – the 261st Wells Fargo banking store in the state – is designed and built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  Wells Fargo has five LEED certified stores in Arizona.

“Wells Fargo understands the importance of promoting environmental stewardship in the communities we serve,” said Misha Patel Terrazas, Metro East area president for Wells Fargo in Arizona.  “In addition to our commitment to have 35 percent of our leased and owned buildings LEED certified by 2020, we also have introduced new envelope-free ATMs throughout Arizona and continue to provide support through grants and volunteerism by our team members to local nonprofit organizations that share our environmental commitment.”

Environmental features in the new store include:
· Water saving plumbing fixtures and control devices help us cut water usage by up to 40% compared with conventional buildings of the same type
· Energy efficient light fixtures and HVAC system help to reduce energy use by up to 21% compared with conventional buildings of the same type
· Light harvesting system helps cut energy use by automatically adjusting indoor lighting for maximum use of available daylight
· Bike racks help reduce pollution impacts from automobile usage
· Increased use of recycled content, like porcelain tiles that contain 40% recycled content and insulation  made from recycled cotton – including scraps of denim
· Fully recyclable materials such as counter surfaces comprised of recycled bottles and cement, carpet, and window shades divert these materials from the landfill at their end of life
· Sustainably grown, harvested and manufactured wood materials
· Low toxic paints and other materials and strict air quality management practices during construction contribute to a healthier environment
· Waste diversion during construction keeps much of our construction waste from ever seeing the landfill
*Compared to conventional buildings of the same type.
“Our vision as a company is to help our customers succeed financially, and this new store will make it even easier for our customers to connect with the full financial services that Wells Fargo has to offer,” said Store Manager Chris McCarthy.  “We’re excited to be serving our customers in this new energy efficient store.”

McCarthy joined Wells Fargo as a teller in 2001 and also has held positions as a personal banker and training consultant.  His store team will consist of 11 Retail Banking team members, including Service Manager Samantha Brock, four personal bankers and five tellers.  Representatives from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Wells Fargo Investments also will serve customers at the store.

The new store includes two ATMs with 24-hour access, a merchant night drop and an online terminal where customers can access their Wells Fargo accounts online. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday.

Natural light floods the five-story atrium space

ASU's ISTB 4 Achieves LEED Gold Certification


Arizona State University’s recently opened Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 (ISTB 4) research facility was recognized as LEED Gold certified from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

To earn the LEED Gold, the $110M, 7-story ISTB 4 achieved 46 total LEED points under the LEED for New Construction Version 2.2 Rating System. One of the major project goals for the 298,000 SF building was to reduce energy as much as possible — when fully occupied ISTB 4’s energy use will be nearly one-half of a typical laboratory building.

HDR, as executive architect, collaborated with the design architect, Ehrlich Architects,  for the uniquely sustainable research and laboratory building. Sundt Construction was the general contractor.

As sustainable designer, Mathew Cunha-Rigby, LEED AP BD+C, point outs, “ASU and HDR were committed to making ISTB 4 a high performance, sustainable building from the beginning of the project. The university set a minimum goal of LEED Silver, with a stretch goal of LEED Gold.

“ASU also outlined sustainability targets that needed to be met for all new projects on campus, which helped influence many of the design strategies that were implemented in the building.”

Some of the sustainable strategies implemented in the building include:

>> Optimal building orientation based on local climate conditions and a high performance façade with vertical sunshades to reduce heat gain and incorporate passive cooling strategies.

>> Efficient active systems to minimize lighting, mechanical and process loads including energy recovery, reduced heating and cooling requirements for ventilated air, variable-air-volume settings for offices, labs and fume hoods, as well as, energy-efficient lighting, with occupancy sensor controls.

>> On-site renewable energy. ASU allocated energy produced by a photovoltaic array on the adjacent parking structure to ISTB 4 to supply more than 16% of its energy use.

>> Building performance monitoring to ensure the building will continue to meet its energy use reduction goals over the life of the building.

>>  Minimized resource use. Local building materials, extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the site, totaled more than 44 percent of the entire material cost.

>> Daylighting. The building envelope and the interior space are designed to admit natural light into as many spaces as possible, and a central atrium brings daylight deep into the building interior.

>> Users are encouraged to use alternative transportation. ISTB 4 is within one fourth of a mile from a light rail stop and bus stops, serving five different bus routes. Bicycle racks are provided on site and the number of parking spaces has been reduced by 55% from that of a typical university building, with 10% of the parking spaces dedicated to carpool and fuel-efficient vehicles.

With the ISTB 4 certification, HDR now has a total of 14 LEED Gold projects.


SmithGroupJJR - Chris Brown

SmithGroupJJR's Chris Brown Elevated to ASLA Fellow

Architecture, engineering and planning firm SmithGroupJJR announced that Chris Brown, FASLA, LEED AP BD+C, vice president and landscape architecture studio director, has been elevated to the Council of Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

The designation of Fellow is conferred upon individuals in recognition of exceptional professional accomplishments over a sustained period of time. Brown will be honored at an investiture ceremony at ASLA’s Annual Meeting and Expo Sept. 30 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

With nearly 30 years of experience, Brown earned a bachelor of science in urban planning and landscape architecture from Arizona State University and a master of science in real estate development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He is a registered landscape architect in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas and Wyoming, and is a LEED accredited professional. He is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute and board member of the Valley Forward Association.

Brown has garnered the reputation as an innovator and national leader in sustainable site design and restoration for arid environments. He has led landscape architectural design efforts for many notable and award-winning projects throughout Arizona.

Significant works include the Gateway to McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale; Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center, Phoenix; and a series of collaborative design efforts for the Phoenix Zoo.

Brown also served as landscape design principal for the 34-acre multi-use George “Doc” Cavalliere Park in Scottsdale.

The park is one of just 150 projects selected into the two-year pilot program conducted by Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™). SITES is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the U.ited States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.

As part of this pilot initiative, George “Doc” Cavalliere Park is among the first projects in the United States and abroad to demonstrate the application of The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009. The guidelines, released November 2009, establish a four-star rating system based upon a 250-point scale. The park is anticipated to be first SITES Certified project in Arizona.

About The American Society of Landscape Architects

Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) (www.asla.org) is the national professional association representing landscape architects. ASLA strives to increase the public’s awareness of and appreciation for the profession of landscape architecture and its contributions to quality of life. The organization supports public policy initiatives pertaining to professional licensure, the environment, sustainable design, livable communities, surface transportation, historic preservation, and stormwater management issues, among others. ASLA’s membership totals over 15,400, with fewer than 1,100 receiving the prestigious distinction of fellowship.



DOXA Redevelopment Project Receives LEED Gold Certification


With 17.8% of the total building materials content, by value, manufactured using recycled products, DOXA was pleased to accept the LEED Gold level certification this month for its newest Phoenix adaptive reuse development project.

Located at Buckeye Rd. and 16th St. and once home to the original Smitty’s Grocery store, the 60,000 SF refurbished building now houses the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ primary regional office.

An internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED certification was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is verified and awarded by third party, Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

The designation provides independent, third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Through the course of construction, DOXA diverted 96.64% of waste from landfills, using 11.97 percent of salvaged, refurbished or reused materials from the original building. The new building also utilized regional materials, totaling 33.1% of the total building materials, lowering the financial and environmental cost of delivery and stimulating the local economy.

In addition to sustainable construction methods, LEED certification emphasizes sensitivity to a building’s occupants. As such, DOXA has taken a number of measures to increase the health, safety and comfort level in the building, including the use of paint and interior materials low in Volatile Organic Compounds; heating and cooling systems free of dangerous chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) based refrigerants; and a redesigned building envelope which doubled the existing insulation.

The redevelopment also reduced potable water use by 54.6% through the installation of high efficiency water closets and urinals and low flow lavatory faucets.

“As landlord, our obligation was to obtain a LEED Silver Certification for the building,” said Dan Wilhelm, DOXA principle. “Achieving LEED Gold demonstrates our commitment to increasing measureable energy efficiency for this and all other DOXA buildings where the government is the tenant.”



Marriott To Open Courtyard Hotel In Scottsdale

Courtyard by Marriott is rolling out its new lobby and room design in Scottsdale, featuring the “refreshing business” makeover.

The 158-room Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River is scheduled to open this month. Located at 5201 N. Pima Rd., the hotel is owned by Salt River Devco and managed by Marriott International.

The Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River is a unique property in numerous ways. First, for its contributions in making the environment a healthier place by reducing waste, conserving energy and water, the hotel is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designed and is the first hotel in the Marriott family built using Marriott LEED volume certification. Also, it is the first Marriott branded property built on U.S. tribal land and thus has incorporated Pima and Maricopa Indian culture into the hotel. And finally it is the only Courtyard property in Arizona with more than  6,000 SF of functional meeting space.

Located in the Scottsdale 101 Corridor and 13 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River offers guests convenient access to Old Town Scottsdale, West World of Scottsdale and Salt River Fields – spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.

Courtyard by Marriott was the first lodging brand exclusively designed for business travel by business travelers. And now it has completely redefined the hotel lobby experience. This Marriott International “power brand” is fast-tracking its lobby makeover.

From day one, Courtyard has prided itself as a brand that listens to what business travelers want from a hotel,” said Janis Milham, vice president, Global Brand Manager, Courtyard by Marriott. “Guests want more control and choice with services and amenities that create a healthy balance between working and relaxing. We redefined the Courtyard lobby so it invites guests to get out of their rooms to work, socialize or for entertainment, whether traveling alone or with colleagues.”

The open, bright and contemporary new Courtyard hotel lobby welcomes guests with vivid colors. The traditional front desk is replaced with separate welcome pedestals to create more personal and private interactions when guests check in. This will allow staff to move about to show guests the lobby features and provide assistance. Flexible seating options range from communal tables in the middle of the action, to more private media booths with high-definition televisions, to a more intimate, semi-enclosed lounge area.

A signature element of the new lobby is the exclusive GoBoard® technology, a 55-inch LCD touch screen packed with local information, maps, weather, and news, business and sports headlines. Guests can navigate using the touch screen to find restaurants, local attractions and directions.

Guests can connect to free WiFi and there are ample electrical outlets throughout the lobby to power digital devices. The enlarged business library features several complimentary computer terminals along with a free printer and separate computer stations dedicated to printing airline boarding passes and checking flight status.

Dining has been completely redesigned with The Bistro – Eat. Drink. Connect.; offering casual, flexible seating; easier access to food and higher quality, healthier menu options for breakfast; and light evening fare, including snacks, wine and beer so guests can unwind. The MarketTM, a 24/7 shop for snacks, beverages and sundries, is always open for late-night cravings or the toothpaste you forgot to pack.

The four-story hotel features The Bistro restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a Bistro Plus offering sit-down dinner service with an upgraded menu, an outdoor swimming pool with whirlpool spa, fitness center, guest laundry and business center.

For more information on Courtyard by Marriott, visit Courtyard by Marriott’s website at marriott.com/courtyard.

Green Construction Code, Phoenix, Scottsdale

Phoenix And Scottsdale Adopt Green Construction Code

Phoenix, Scottsdale Green Construction CodeIt has been almost one month since the City of Phoenix adopted a voluntary green construction code to promote energy efficiency and sustainability in construction activities.

A keystone of the code is that both new and old projects can achieve the green standard without paying third-party fees; costly fees can often prevent projects from getting off the ground.

“Those who choose to ‘go green’ will have their projects reviewed and inspected to this standard,” says Michael Hammett, spokesman for the City of Phoenix in a statement. “There are no extra fees for plan review or permits.”

All those seeking certification must follow strict prerequisites before the city will certify the building as “green.” The code was enforced starting July 1 — although it may be too early to tell how effective it has been.

Phoenix is one of the first cities in the nation to implement such a code, according to a statement from city officials.

The city has set its aim high to attempt to mitigate waste and save energy.

The Phoenix Green Construction Code goals include:

  • Encourage the reduction of the building’s eco-footprint
  • Improve indoor air quality
  • 20 percent mandatory reduction of indoor water use
  • 15 percent mandatory reduction of energy use
  • Require that at least two percent of the building’s annual electrical use be produced by renewable energy materials
  • Encourage the implementation of green roofs, brown roofs and reflective roofs
  • Divert 30 percent of construction waste from landfills

The Phoenix Green Code was modeled after the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) and the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) for residential construction, a city news release said.

Commercial buildings will only have one type of IGCC certification, and residential buildings could have up to four, based on the NGBS standard.

This building code was created out of the Phoenix Green Building program and funded by grants from the Department of Energy.

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Sundt Construction, Arizona

Sundt Construction Expands To New Mexico, N. Carolina And Texas

Arizona-based general contractor Sundt Construction has expanded its operations, opening three satellite offices in Albuquerque, N.M.; Cary, N.C. and El Paso, Texas. The offices will support active projects in those areas.

“During Sundt’s 122-year history, we have completed projects across the United States and around the world,” said Doug Pruitt, CEO and Chairman of Sundt Construction. “The opening of these satellite offices aligns with our plans for growth, and will help us best serve our current and future clients and partners in those markets.”

The El Paso office supports work underway at the Fort Bliss military installation, including housing projects, tactical facilities and infrastructure, training ranges, tank trails and more. It will also act as the hub for West Texas project work for public agencies and private owners alike.

The El Paso satellite location is the second Texas office to open in the last year and a half. In February 2010, Sundt established a Texas District headquarters in San Antonio in light of its active projects and long history in the Lone Star State, which includes more than 40 years and $1 billion in project work.

In addition to its work at Fort Bliss, the company is working on projects at Fort Hood in Killeen and Fort Sam Houston near San Antonio, as well as the Public Safety Answering Point / 9-1-1 Dispatch Center in San Antonio. The most recent Texas project win came last month when the Texas Department of Transportation awarded Sundt a $24.1 million civil construction contract to renovate the W. Seventh Street Bridge in Fort Worth.

In North Carolina, Sundt’s Cary office supports work underway at Camp Lejeune. The company is working for the U.S. Navy Facilities Engineering Command to construct two Marine Corps barracks facilities with a total of 370 units at Camp Lejeune. Sundt hopes to increase its presence throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions, where it has a history inclusive of federal and private sector projects.

In New Mexico, Sundt’s Albuquerque office supports work at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Sundt presently serves as the Construction Manager at Risk for the $22 million Chamisa Village project, which includes the construction of three new three-story buildings, associated site development, utilities and self-perform concrete work. The new buildings total 127,000 square feet and will house approximately 300 students in two- and four-bedroom apartments situated around central courtyards.

Designed by Steinberg Architects, Chamisa Village will seek LEED Gold for Homes certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, which would make it the first Gold-certified multi-unit university building in New Mexico.

Desert Star Construction's First LEED Home, Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley Gets The First Ever LEED Certified Home

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Desert Star Construction, Inc. (DSC) has placed the first ever LEED home in Paradise Valley. DSC specializes in luxury commercial properties and luxury homes in the Paradise Valley and  Scottsdale areas. They stand out by doing complex projects that offer the leading green standards.

“Our clients range from local leaders to presidents of Fortune 500 companies,” says Jeremy Meek, sustainability programs manager at DSC. “They recognize that green building is the future, and they welcome opportunities to consider new technologies as they build.”

LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certifications are determined by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and are the leading, nationally-accepted, third-party verification program for green buildings.

This will be one of four custom LEED homes located in the greater Phoenix area.

“We’ve been building ‘green’ for over 30 years, but this is the first official LEED home we have done,” Meek says. “We do niche commercial projects and audits for the luxury market.”

In order for a home to be “green” and have the LEED tag, they must meet high design standards, rigorous construction practices and scrupulous third-party verification of all measures. The USGBC then ranks the homes as (from lowest to highest) Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

The three-structure Paradise Valley LEED home includes a main house, guesthouse and casita. The guest home has been ranked “Gold” while the casita is “Platinum” Certification.

Because of the different certifications and building style, DSC has also completed houses five and six.

“We build better, implement new things on the next home and always favor the next project,” Meek says.

All three buildings apply essential green-build and sustainable strategies to meet LEED requirements. In the Paradise Valley home, these include:

  • Solar hot water and solar electric systems
  • Reduced water use through low-flow faucets and toilets, as well as an “intelligent” landscaping irrigation system
  • High-efficiency LED lighting and mechanical equipment
  • Enhanced home occupant health measures, such as hard surface floors in lieu of carpet that can emit chemicals from production
  • Materials that reduce the local heat island effect, such as light-colored driveways, sidewalks and patios (particularly those within 50 feet of the home) that reflect rather than absorb heat from the sun
  • Recycled and salvaged materials
  • An advanced home automation system that includes motion detectors that will shut off lights when spaces are not in use and gives homeowners the ability to control light intensity. At the Paradise Valley home, all lights are set to 90 percent brightness, which can double the life of bulbs.

About Desert Star Construction

For 34 years, Desert Star Construction has advanced a tradition of excellence and integrity through its commercial and luxury custom home construction and renovation projects. The company has gained honors including a Gold Nugget Best in the West award, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona Custom Home of the Year, Valley Forward 2010 Environmental Excellence Award of Merit, and the 2010 Heart of Business Award.

BIG Expo & Conference Logo 2011

Speaker: Erik Koss ~ BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Erik Koss, KOSS Design

Erik Koss, KOSS DesignKOSS design+build founder, Erik Koss is a licensed architect and LEED accredited professional that has numerous years of experience in the planning, design and construction of various building types, focusing on high end residential projects and specialty commercial buildings. Erik’s success is based on client interaction and satisfaction along with a commitment to excellent design, quality construction and a dedication to sustainable building. Erik brings his collective experience and technical knowledge to every project through creative and viable design & construction solutions.

B.S. Architectural Studies, University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana, 1995
Master’s in Architecture, Arizona State University, 1997 Master’s in Construction Management, Arizona State University, 2000

Licensed Architect & Contractor in the state of Arizona, National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NeARB) Member, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED A.P.), Local Arizona Chapter USGBC Member, Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce (PGCC) Charter Member & Communications Comm., KXXT 1010 AM Green Radio Round Table Show Host

Topic: Green Home Design, Inside a Sustainable Architect’s Bag of Tricks: How architects deal with several design and construction issues on sustainable residential projects.

Conference Speaker
Friday, April 15, 2011
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Room 159

BIG Green Conference 2011



BIG Green Expo
Friday & Saturday
April 15th & 16th
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Rider Levett Bucknall, LEED

Is ‘Green’ The Whole Answer?

Our natural resources are limited and they are fast becoming scarcer and more costly. Thankfully, in recent years, awareness of this issue has heightened and individuals, companies and governments are making efforts towards more responsible usage of our depleting natural resources. Unarguably, we’re in the Age of Environmental Thrift, when ‘going green’ is just good practice—for the planet and for the pocketbook. The question remains, are we doing enough to minimize the use of scarce resources?

In the construction industry, environmentally responsible practices are being promoted by the US Green Building Council and others through programs like the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) rating system. Overall, 26 state and local governments—the state of Arizona among them—are mandating LEED™ certification for new construction, and President Obama is currently seeking LEED™ certification for improvements made to the White House.

Despite the rapid acceptance of sustainable design and its application on a variety of both new-build and renovation projects, the practice is limited in its ability to reduce whole earth impacts. Why? Because even though continual improvements are being made in the ways in which we use natural resources—sustainably harvested lumber, energy-efficient building systems, recycled building products—we’re still consuming! Only if the scale of resource usage stabilizes will the efficiency of how they are delivered result in reducing the net environmental impact. We need to be asking how and where we can use existing assets instead of consuming more of the earth’s limited resources to construct new assets.

Significant natural resources can be saved by capturing the remaining value and extending the life of a building rather than demolishing and replacing it. But how does one know if it is viable to extend the life of a building? The state of Arizona addressed this question in 2004 by implementing a process in which consideration must be given to ‘relifing’ existing buildings before a new government building can be procured. Rider Levett Bucknall worked with government officials to develop the legislation which, in the first six months, saved the state $26 million. The legislation has since been endorsed by the American Legislative Exchange Council as model legislation for all 50 states.

Through a relifing study on an existing Arizona state medical laboratory building, including an inspection of the current condition of various building components and their life expectancies, Rider Levett Bucknall determined that investment of approximately $4.9 million would allow continued use of the building for an additional 25 years.

‘Relifing’ is mathematically-based analysis which helps building owners and managers capture the remaining value of and extend the life of their buildings after years of service. It improves the decision making process when considering whether to renovate a building versus demolish it and build new and can be used during the design of a new building to optimize the building’s design life. Throughout the development process, it helps to minimize the use of scarce natural resources.

The Age of Environmental Thrift provides an ideal time for people to reconsider the traditional approaches to green practices, especially in the construction industry. Building owners, designers and contractors should be open to new ways of approaching old problems and be willing to implement tools to help them get the most out of our shrinking resources.

Rider Levett Bucknall is an international property and construction consultancy headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. www.rlb.com/life

states logistics services, Green Ideas, LEED

States Logistics Services’ New Warehouse to Achieve LEED Silver Certification

Known by its customers as one of the best providers of third-party logistics services, States Logistics Services, Inc. has grown to accommodate more than 100 customers and over two million square feet of warehouse space company-wide.  Since the company’s inception, the vision to provide outstanding services to a wide variety of industries in Southern California and Arizona has expanded to include a significant focus on sustainability opportunities that reduce the impact of the company on the environment.  Their vision of sustainability is employed in daily operations and procedures, and has expanded to include environmentally-conscious building development.  The commitment to green building is showcased in their first LEED registered facility, which is anticipated to achieve Silver level certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating System for New Construction.

States Logistics Services’ new sustainable facility provides office and warehouse space to serve the growing warehousing, transportation, and packaging needs of Arizona.  The 417,000 square foot facility has multiple environmentally-responsible facets including design, construction, and operations. Green operations include an extensive corporate recycling program, buying regional products and materials to support local businesses. and raising sustainability consciousness within the staff.

As a major supplier of packaging services, States Logistics Services, Inc. recognizes the benefits of reducing waste sent to landfills and reducing transportation of products and materials.  This is one of the company values that led to the use of building products and materials with recycled content sourced from local providers.  Steel, a material having high post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled content, was used extensively for the skin and structure.  It enabled long roof spans which were needed for the open floor plan.  Additional specified materials having recycled content include miscellaneous metal frames and doors and acoustical ceiling tile made from old ceiling tiles and mineral fibers.

To reduce the amount of transportation energy required to deliver building materials and products, the new facility incorporates products sourced from local providers within 375 miles of the project site (LEED credit requires that they be within 500 miles of the project site).  The combination of locally-specified paving material, landscaping material, rebar and concrete represented over 45 percent of the project’s materials value.  This significant achievement exceeds the requirements of LEED by over 20 percent, and that allowed the project to apply for an Innovation and Design credit.  The company’s desire to reduce the negative impact of long-distance transport of building materials and products is a natural extension of their expertise in efficient transportation, which includes regional service areas and utilizing alternative fuel products.

The use of highly efficient energy systems to operate and maintain the new facility was a goal arising from the project’s simple program and energy use requirements.  As straightforward structures with low energy use relative to other building types, warehouses have the potential for unique opportunities in saving energy.  Lighting for the warehouse space includes efficient T-8 lamps aided by 156 skylights for an extremely efficient overall warehouse lighting power density of 0.6 W/sf.  Additional efficiency is also achieved through occupancy sensors that automatically turn off lights between pick rows when there is no activity.

The large roof area of the new facility provides an optimal, secure location for a photovoltaic (PV) system.   The clean, inexhaustible power from PV can offset significant amounts of a building’s energy use.  States Logistics has installed a 217 kW PV system that is expected to produce over 453,000 kWh per year – almost 30% of its annual power needs.  The system is easy to maintain, does not produce air pollution, and does not require the use of fuel or hazardous resources to operate.  The combination of a good lighting design and a substantial photovoltaic system is expected to produce an annual utility savings of $70,000 for the new facility and reduce nearly 95 tons each year in its carbon footprint.

During the process of preparing to submit their LEED project, States Logistics Services, Inc. exceeded their original environmental goals, not only by adding systems that increased the LEED point total but by providing education along the way.  Part of that process, which has continued into the occupancy phase, has been to raise awareness of environmentally-friendly building strategies and systems among the design and construction teams, the company staff and the greater community.

Strong corporate dedication plus design and construction expertise have resulted in a world-class sustainable warehouse building which is both built and operated in an environmentally-conscious manner.



About Green Ideas Environmental Building Consultants

Green Ideas, established in 2000, is a full-service green building consulting firm offering educational programs, product evaluation services and world-class LEED consulting services. Its clients are building owners, architects, engineers, contractors, utilities and green product manufacturers. With a vision as bold as the results they achieve, Green Ideas is dedicated to transforming the market by promoting buildings that are designed, built and operated in a manner that improves the health, well-being and productivity of people and the environment.Green Ideas is proud to be one of the leading companies specializing in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Consulting including charrette facilitation, programming assistance, LEED registration, documentation and certification services. Green Ideas develops and implements marketing programs that will enhance companies’ images and visibility in the green building marketplace with a positive return on investment.


Eco-Workers: Sustainability Starts At The Office

Sustainability starts at the office

Many firms are changing their operations to have considerably less impact on the environment. But most changes don’t have to begin at the top. They typically occur because concerned individuals got together, came up with an action plan and sold it to top management.

Eco Workers, Arizona Business Magazine September 2008As Alexis de Tocqueville observed in the 1830s in his “Democracy in America,” a defining characteristic of Americans is that they don’t wait for someone in authority to tell them what to do; they just voluntarily organize a group and go do it. If your company doesn’t use hybrids or support employees’ public transit use, get everyone on board to do this. If you’re going to move to a new building, insist on a LEED-registered (and certified) project.

Through an arrangement with a plumbing fixture manufacturer, one building engineering firm with about 100 employees in Portland, Ore., now offers a program to subsidize the installation of dual-flush toilets in employees’ homes, each saving about 6,000 gallons of water per year. The same firm has bought four Honda Civic hybrids for travel to client meetings and job sites, and subsidizes 60 percent of the cost of public transportation for employees, which has led to 80 percent participation. It’s also testing very low-flush urinals in the two washrooms, saving 85 percent of the water use of a typical 1-gallon-per-flush fixture.

Workers at a larger corporation might be surprised at how many incentives may be offered in the coming years for you to “go green.” For example, early in 2007, Bank of America offered a $3,000 cash rebate to any of its 185,000 employees who bought a hybrid car. Why couldn’t your company do the same? Many companies are offering transit subsidies, participation in local “car sharing” programs, showers and bicycle lockers for bicycle commuters, and similar measures to keep them from driving to work in conventionally powered, conventionally fueled, single-occupant automobiles.

Here are my top tips for affordable sustainability initiatives for any employer:

  • Make a personal commitment to change the way you do things. Lead by example.
  • Engage the creativity of staff by creating an in-house “green team” that has specific goals, responsibilities, timetables and budgets. If you’re large enough, consider hiring a sustainability director to oversee a comprehensive group of initiatives.
  • Tell the rest of the company in creative ways what your commitment is. For example, one company president sends his quarterly newsletter to more than 200 employees on recycled paper with wildflower seeds embedded in it. Instead of tossing it, employees are encouraged to soak the newsletter for a day, and then plant it in their garden.
  • Use less paper. Have the IT department set the default printing style to duplex, so everything is double sided unless it has to be printed only on one side.
  • Get rid of printers altogether; give everyone scanners for any paper that has to be saved, and encourage people not to
    print anything.
  • Measure everything that comes into the office or factory, and use less of it.
  • Get rid of wastebaskets under the desk and put recycling boxes. Any other trash can be disposed of down the hall.
  • Subsidize transit passes and offer guaranteed rides home for employees.
  • Make every company car a hybrid, biodiesel or flex-fuel vehicle. Look for a chance to buy the coming plug-in hybrids.
  • Buy only Energy Star appliances and equipment for the office. Get rid of any remaining incandescent lamps. Use only compact fluorescent bulbs or LED lights.
  • Buy green power from sun or wind power plants to meet all your electric power needs.
  • Buy carbon offsets for all your company travel, especially
    air travel.
  • Change your purchasing policies to buy only “Environmentally Preferable Products” from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list.
  • Cut water use by installing waterless (or ultra-low flush) urinals and dual-flush toilets in all restrooms.

If you work at a government agency or school district, you have a chance to affect all of the organization’s design, construction, remodeling and purchasing policies. There’s nothing an elected official, planning commission member or senior civil servant likes more right now than to look good by instituting a sustainability policy. With more than 800 mayors of American cities on board to take action to reduce their cities’ greenhouse gas emissions, they’re going to be looking to their staffs to come up with practical proposals to implement this commitment. Make sure that everything you build has long-term sustainability built into it, including getting all new or renovated buildings certified to the LEED standard. Then tackle the harder stuff, such as purchasing policies and energy use in ongoing operations. Try to get the organization to certify one building to the LEED for Existing Buildings standard in order to create a benchmark for measuring the sustainability of operations across the board.

Jerry Yudelson, PE, MBA, LEED AP, is president at Yudelson Associates, Tucson. He can be reached at jerry@greenbuildconsult.com.