LEED ID+C: Commercial Interiors v3 - LEED 2009
Energy Systems Design Office
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
LEED Platinum 2011
The below stakeholder perspectives address the following LEED credits:
SSc1, EAc1.3, EAc1, EQc4.4, MRc4, EAc1.4
Goals and motivations
What were the project sustainability goals?
ESD wanted to create an office as a teaching tool to set an example and show how energy-efficient design can be implemented and ultimately save money while reducing the impact on the surrounding environment. We also wanted to implement the newest design and technology to highlight its operation, while demonstrating how it contributes to project sustainability. There is nothing better than real data and dollars to explain to others how they can modify their buildings to make a difference. A final goal was to minimize our impact on the surroundings by occupying an existing space in an urban area and making the most energy-efficient and water-conserving engineering decisions.
What were the most notable strategies used to earn LEED credits?
ESD is located within walking distance to many amenities and has access to city buses and the Scottsdale trolley system. All employee parking is underground and they bicycle parking, as well as shower and changing facilities, are included within the space. Each of these aspects reduces the urban heat island effect while encouraging employee carpooling and alternative transportation options.
Materials & Furnishings
Some of the interior walls were accented with reclaimed wood. The interior doors have an agrifiber core and the break room countertops are made of Paperstone, a 100% post-consumer recycled product. The carpets are NSF-certified at gold level and the flooring tiles are made from rubber cork. Some accents and décor are made of recycled glass. Even the furniture, purchased from a local company in Tempe, Arizona, is re-conditioned; composed of about 70% recycled content.
Rubber cork floors, reclaimed wood and recycled glass highlight ESD's lobby. Photo by Halleh Landon.
Due to conscious coordination on the part of the general contractor, ESD's project was able to divert more than 70% of the construction waste from a landfill and fulfill all requirements for LEED documentation and implementation.
Four skylights were custom-designed and installed after the 11 existing mechanical units provided with the shell building were donated to a local school district and replaced with seven of the highest efficiency heat pumps on the market today. The skylights were custom-designed with integral dampers to relieve building pressure and remove heat from the skylights themselves. Additionally, window shades were installed on all windows.
Another high-efficiency system is the displacement air ventilation in the conference room. The six diffusers on the interior wall of the conference room provide cooling to only the occupant breathing zone in the space. The system provides cool, clean air at the floor level that gravitates up toward the heat source (computers, occupants, etc.), creating an upward cooling effect as the warm air rises. The air is supplied at a very low velocity and is whisper quiet. Each office is equipped with variable flow diffusers that allow each occupant to change his/her own office temperature within a few degrees. Energy-efficient lighting was used throughout the office. LED, compact fluorescent, and T8 lights were installed, as well as daylight and motion sensors.
Two of four custom designed skylights with motorized dampers to relieve building pressure and bring in daylight to the workspace. Photo by Halleh Landon.
The plumbing fixtures are all low-flow. The newly installed heat pump water heater draws in ambient heat from the surrounding air and transfers it back into the tank to heat the water. By doing this, it reduces the water heating expenses by roughly 60%. All core restroom fixtures were replaced with low-flow ones, as well.
Aside from LEED certification, what do you consider key project successes?
After a year and a half of occupying the space, we earned our ENERGY STAR rating and are able to say that our actual energy use was reduced by 44% below baseline, compared to a 29% projection. Similarly, our utility bills have lowered to 49% below calculated baseline, compared to a 29% projection. We have been able to use our office as a teaching tool and environment for learning about energy-efficient building practices, and have proven that a LEED-certified and energy-efficient interior space can be a comfortable working environment. Our employees enjoy the open collaborative spaces and natural light. We get great reactions from anyone who visits our space, and to put it simply, it has a good flow and great energy. We are so excited to discover another way to display our commitment and dedication to our purpose as energy-efficient engineers.
Real time energy use display located in the lobby of ESD. Photo by Halleh Landon.
What key metrics best define the project's most significant savings or LEED-related successes?
The project obtained over $7000 in rebates from SRP and incorporated multiple sustainability and energy efficient measures summarized below:
- 34% Reduction in HVAC energy consumption
- 37% Reduction in Lighting energy consumption
- 46% Reduction in Water consumption
- 77% Reduction in Water consumption
- 93% Parking spaces under cover
- 59% Mitigated site hardscape
- 100% Roof site SRI Complians
- 50%+ Greater than 50% reduction in landscape potable water
- 73% Energy Star rated equipment
- 90% of lighting load with daylight responsive controls
- 86% of lighting load with occupancy senseor control
- 23% of total Building material content, by value, were manufactured using recycled materials
- 32% of total building material content, by value, was manufactured regionally
What project challenges became important lessons learned?
During construction, there were various obstacles. The contractor and subcontractors had to work off-hours to avoid disturbing the existing retail tenants below the office. Getting the mechanical units on and off the roof was challenging due to the narrow roadways surrounding the building; therefore, positioning a crane on the site was an interesting challenge. Finally, locating the receptacles for trash, sorting, and collection on a site with very small open/available areas was also a challenge carefully overcome. ESD, Rubson, and Waterfront Management worked as a team to create solutions to make this project a success.
Additionally, there were challenges given aspirations to be LEED Platinum within an existing space. The office is located on the second floor of a non-LEED building and ESD could not modify the windows or exterior of the building. The core restrooms fixtures were not low-flow and would require modification and there were existing units on the roof that were not highly efficient, but yet were never used. ESD was still able to make the space efficient by replacing core restroom plumbing fixtures, installing window shades, and replacing the rooftop mechanical units with high-efficiency ones.
What was the value of applying LEED to this project?
LEED provided us a guideline to design an environmentally-sustainable project. We wanted to experience the entire LEED process and documentation. As engineers, we are typically only involved in credits that pertain to us. By acting as LEED project managers and completing all templates, we were able to gain a more well-rounded view of the process and what it takes to complete it. We are proud to say that we accomplished the certification process for the first Platinum LEED for Commercial Interiors v2009 project in the State of Arizona.
Glass walled offices, partitions and low workstations allow everyone a view to outside and daylight into the space. Photo by Halleh Landon.
So, what do you think? Help us improve our new LEED project library by completing this short survey.