Last summer the building at 1800 Larimer Street in downtown Denver opened for business. Now home to Xcel Energy’s offices, the structure achieved LEED Platinum certification from the USGBC. Many unique features helped the structure attain this designation. Underfloor air distribution (click here for an example) that uses natural convection can result in a 50% energy reduction and better air quality, reducing employee sick days. Waterless and low flow water fixtures are placed throughout the building. A flexible internal structure allows for quick and cheap reconfiguration of floor space. “1800 Larimer’s open floor plans feature only four interior columns on 24,500 square foot floor plates, providing the most efficient and flexible office space configurations.” All of this creates a comfortable work environment, which can lead to less employee turn over, thereby and decreasing human resource costs.
According to the website, “Results from a recent study show that 1800 Larimer’s space is 9-18% more efficient than five comparable office buildings in Denver.” In addition,
Raised floor environments enable reconfiguring space for ever-changing business needs. Movable wall options, and . . . wiring options for computers and telecom can be modified quickly with minimal disruption and cost…in minutes or hours not days. These design features and under-floor air systems accommodate more people, more comfortably in less space.
1800 Larimer is the first high-rise office building constructed in Denver’s central business district in more than 25 years. The building was developed by Westfield Company and designed by international architectural firm RNL, mentioned in a previous post. Building highlights include LEED Platinum certification, “Vanguard air flow and lighting systems and raised-floor environments enhance productivity and comfort, while helping to reduce operating expenses”, a terrace park, short walking distance to Union Station, and an employee fitness center.
The building is Denver’s first Platinum high rise. According to Entrepreneur.com, the building cost about 5% more due to the green components. Randy Schwartz, cheif operating officer of Westfield Development, the building’s developer, was quoted in the article saying “‘We are not tree-huggers, but we understand sustainability, we understand energy conservation and the whole green movement. It’s just best business practice in today’s world.’” This recognition of green building as “best business practice” is a welcome sign that companies see the inherent economic value in building to standards such as LEED.
As part of LEED certification and achieving “green building” status, 1800 Larimer will exhibit the following savings (as reported by Entrepreneur.com)”
- 43.6 percent–How much water use will be reduced compared to traditional Denver office buildings
- 30 percent–How much energy use will be reduced
- 35 percent–How much of the building’s core and shell electricity will be obtained from renewable energy sources
- 38 percent–How much more fresh air circulation than required by code