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CO Health Foundation Nabs Both LEED and WELL Gold for Construction & Design

The Colorado Health Foundation’s new headquarters in Denver is the first in the US to receive both the LEED v4 Gold Certification and WELL Gold Certification for design and construction, according to Saunders Construction.

The three-story building features a “health-positive” design and development standards that aim to improve the health of both staff and visitors who interact with the building space, including:

  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI) that is 46% less than a baseline office building
  • Design approaches (daylighting, massing and operable windows) with an efficient HVAC system
  • LED lighting and Energy Star appliances
  • Preparation for future installation of solar panels
  • Direct access to outdoor areas via rooftop decks and gardens
  • Natural ventilation of daylight

The Foundation’s new building incorporates the seven WELL Building Standard concepts in a variety of ways: All staff desks are within 25 feet of a window, allowing for abundant natural light, and a 40-foot living wall in the lobby integrates a variety of plant life, while the central staircase encourages physical activity. Two quiet rooms are located away from work areas and are available for mental breaks, nursing mothers or phone calls, and the building has its own on-site gym.

Saunders Construction worked with Davis Partnership Architects on the building’s design and construction.

In related news, three new LEED Gold projects have been certified at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska. The projects were certified using the campus program, allowing site credits and energy credits to be submitted collectively for the separate projects. Sustainable features in the buildings include daylighting devices and ample efficient windows, sun screens to reduce glare and heat gain, LED lighting throughout and a green roof. The buildings provide real-time energy monitoring.

There are currently about 94,000 commercial buildings granted or awaiting LEED, according to the US Green Building Council. Mahesh Ramanujam, the USGBC’s CEO, said earlier this spring that green building is now a $1 trillion global industry (via Builder).

LEED has occasionally come under fire for basing its certification on projected energy and environmental savings rather than post-occupancy numbers, Builder wrote. While the USGBC requires owners of LEED certified buildings to submit energy use data for the first five years of occupancy, less than a dozen building owners have actually coughed up the numbers, Ramanujam says. Energy use encompasses complex data which can be challenging for building owners and operators to aggregate.

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