Ian Tierney
5 minute read

These recent LEED projects exemplify Hawaii's commitment to green building.

In 2018, Hawaii once again made the list of Top 10 States for LEED projects. Hawaii ranked fourth on USGBC’s list of Top 10 States for LEED in 2017. Making the list again in 2018 marks the fourth time, in the eight years data has been tracked, that Hawaii has achieved high ranking.

LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water, save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment for occupants and the community at large. LEED supports state and local strategies to mitigate climate change and increase sustainable development. More than 93,000 projects are participating in LEED worldwide, with more than 19.3 billion square feet of LEED space used.

In Hawaii, a total of 41 projects earned LEED certification in 2018. Our USGBC Hawaii community regularly showcases these stellar buildings, so please let us know if there is a particular project you’d like to see.

Here are three projects located in Oahu that have taken extra steps to go green and achieve LEED certification:


If you haven’t had a chance to swim suspended in a glass-bottom pool seven stories above the city streets below, Anaha should be next on your list of places to visit. The LEED Silver building boasts one of only three swimming pools in the world that use this type of cantilevered design and glass bottom.

The rest of the 38-story Anaha Tower features solar-efficient glass cladding with offset walls that imitate the crests and troughs of ocean waves. The grand lobby features Hawaii’s largest living wall, which contains 8,000 plants. A strong commitment was made to source major purchases locally, such as concrete, as well as to use materials that contain recycled content to the greatest degree possible.

Indoor air pollution was mitigated by selecting low-VOC indoor furniture, paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants and flooring. Plumbing and kitchen fixtures are low-flow models, and Energy Star appliances were chosen to for efficiency. Anaha is part of Ward Village, a large community certified LEED Platinum under the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system.

Anaha is LEED Silver

The LEED Silver Anaha Tower.

Hawaii Convention Center

The Hawaii Convention Center has proven its green operations since opening in 1998, and now has received LEED Gold certification under LEED v4 for Operations and Maintenance (O+M) by further enhancing the conservation of Hawaii’s natural resources and reducing its impact on the environment.

The building uses natural ventilation for common areas, with added fans to circulate the air when trade winds aren’t doing their usual cooling. A few of the upgrades and operational changes made to the facility include touch-less restrooms; low-flow fixtures; smoking areas away from the building entrances; self-pedaling bicycles, electric carts and propane-powered lifts for transportation; electric vehicle parking and charging stations; and waste-sorting stations for recycling.

The 1.1 million-square-foot center has committed to offsetting its footprint by planting 1 million native Hawaiian trees across the state through the nonprofit Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative. The Hawaii Convention Center is a great example of sustainable design being complemented by green operations.

Hawaii convention center is LEED Gold

The LEED Gold Hawaii Convention Center. Photo credit: meethawaii.com.

University of Hawaii West Oahu Campus

The newest University of Hawaii (UH) campus on Oahu is UH West Oahu. The campus was completed in 2012, and the project team pushed through challenges with the the photovoltaic system to achieve LEED Silver certification in 2018. LEED Silver is now mandated by the state of Hawaii for new government building construction, and the West Oahu campus is a great example of sustainability by design.

Every building on campus is oriented or shaped to take advantage of natural daylight while minimizing heat. The ambient air temperature of 85–88 degrees Fahrenheit means that air conditioning is needed for occupant comfort, so an energy-efficient chilled water loop reduces energy and maintenance costs.

Energy-efficient fluorescent lighting, along with occupancy sensors and timers, were installed throughout the campus to save energy. Native plants with low water needs were selected for landscaping. The campus uses a combination of drip irrigation and high-efficiency sprinklers to reduce potable water use and associated costs. To further reduce energy bills, the campus installed a 500-kilowatt, ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system to produce renewable energy year-round.

LEED Silver University of Hawaii West Oahu Campus Center

The LEED Silver UH West Oahu campus.

Visit the USGBC Hawaii page to see similar projects, and sign up for our e-newsletter to learn about future LEED tours and education seminars.

Do you have a LEED-certified project in Hawaii that you’d like to feature? Email us and we’ll get in touch to set up a tour or other coverage.

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