Forget about going for the Gold.
That is so 2009.
Hines and Invesco Real Estate recently unveiled that 1515 Wynkoop has moved up a notch to Platinum. The Class A office building that shares its name with its address, opened in 2009 as a Gold LEED certified building.
Hines developed the Class A office building in Lower Downtown and Invesco bought it in 2015.
Hines continues to manage the 8-story, 306,791-square-foot building, which counts homegrown Chipotle Mexican Grill as one of its anchor tenants.
Invesco also owns another Platinum-certified office tower downtown, 1800 Larimer.
Although there are still more Gold, Silver and simply LEED-certified buildings, Platinum ones are not quite as rare as they were a few years ago.
I counted more than 60 Platinum-certified buildings on the U.S. Green Building Council’s Colorado website. UGBC awards the LEED certifications.
According to the LEED Scorecard for 1515 Wynkoop, it received 80 out of 110 possible points.
1800 Larimer was in the same ballpark, scoring 81 points.
While perhaps only something an energy-saving geek would appreciate, 1515 Wynkoop received 100 percent of the points available in a number of categories, including:
- Heat-island effect;
- Water performance measurements;
- Additional indoor plumbing fixture and fitting efficiency;
- Optimize energy-efficient performance;
- Existing building commissioning, implementation and management;
- Emissions reducing reporting;
- Sustainable purchasing – electric-powered equipment;
- Solid waste management;
- Occupation comfort;
- Daylight and views;
- Green cleaning;
- And Innovation and Regional Priority Credits.
Believe me, there are more, but you get the picture.
The list also is long for the Platinum achievements at 1515 Wynkoop.
- Monthly landfill diversion of more than 50 percent through recycling – including e-recycling, cooking oil recycling, lamp and battery recycling, and supporting a home e-recycling program;
- Partnering with general contractors to maximize trash diversion during tenant improvement construction;
- Garage re-lightening project saving approximately 69,520 kWh each year;
- Strong support for alternative commuting including electric vehicle charging stations and ample bike storage with locker rooms and showers resulting in 63 percent of building occupants utilizing alternative modes of transportation.
I was so intrigued by the Platinum rating that I wanted to drill deeper into it.
Stephanie Rosenthal, a Hines property manager, and James Crowell, a lead engineer at Hines, at this to say:
CREJ: Why upgrade to Platinum LEED?
Rosenthal: 1515 Wynkoop earned Gold certification for Core and Shell construction in 2009. Since start-up, LEED certification in the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) category had been a long-term goal. Developing the building to LEED Gold Core and Shell standards at initial construction was a big accomplishment for Hines and laid the groundwork for a smooth transition to LEED certification for O&M. Based on the way we were operating the building, we were confident we could achieve LEED O&M certification at the Platinum level.
CREJ: This was a team effort between Hines and Invesco?
Rosenthal: Invesco Real Estate is very focused on sustainability as is Hines. With a common vision between both parties, LEED Platinum certification was naturally the next target to hit.
CREJ: What specific things did Hines do to incrementally bring 1515 Wynkoop to the next level? Along the same lines, what will the sustainability improvements mean for tenants as far as saving energy and money?
Crowell: Hines has operated all building systems within EnergyStar guidelines since 2009, with a current EnergyStar score of 95 out of 100. A majority of LEED credits in the Energy and Atmosphere category are based on a building’s EnergyStar score, so that gave us an immediate head-start on the process once Invesco launched it.
Multiple lighting retrofits, automation system adjustments, and an overall team mindset toward sustainable practices contributed to a reduction in total energy consumption.
Additionally, participation from the building tenants was a huge factor in achieving enough points to attain Platinum level certification. Tenants’ diligence in recycling and utilizing alternative transportation were recognized on the LEED scorecard.
CREJ: Speaking of tenants, what should they expect now that it is a Platinum-LEED certified building?
Rosenthal: Tenants in a LEED certified building can expect to see lower operating expenses as a result of utilities savings. A sustainable building can also be a more productive work environment for tenants due to superior ventilation and air quality, more daylight infiltrating work spaces and use of green cleaning products.
These, among other factors, contribute to healthier, happier workers which can affect the bottom line for companies in the building.
CREJ: Can you give me an idea of how much it cost to move up to Platinum? Is it more expensive to upgrade a building as opposed to building a new Platinum-LEED building? And to put the costs into perspective, how much more would it have been to make such improvements even a few years ago?
Rosenthal: With the initial infrastructure in place as a result of LEED construction, the additional cost to achieve O&M certification was less than it would have been had we started from scratch.
As sustainability becomes “mainstream,” we are seeing costs come down for environmentally responsible products and services.
For example, LED lighting, which was once very expensive for widespread application within a building, has now become much more affordable, compatible and reliable.
CREJ: Do you think that the Platinum rating will be a marketing tool to lease the vacant space in the building? How much importance do you think tenants put on a Platinum ratings in today’s market? Will some tenants only consider a Platinum rating?
Rosenthal: Downtown Denver is an attractive market for many prospective tenants.
Invesco and Hines pride ourselves in offering the highest quality assets and amenities available.
LEED Platinum certification will be an important tool for leveraging our competitive position within the market.
The best companies want to be in the best buildings.
In searching for office space, a LEED certified building is a sign of quality and of a well-run asset.
CREJ: Was a Platinum upgrade something that Invesco initiated, or did Hines propose the idea and Invesco enthusiastically embraced it?
Rosenthal: When Invesco purchased the building in 2015, earning LEED Platinum certification was at the top of their list of action items. Hines was eager to get started and support Invesco in achieving their investment goals for this asset.
CREJ: I would assume Chipotle would be pleased by the Platinum certification. Have you heard from Chipotle?
Rosenthal: When we announced 1515 Wynkoop would pursue LEED O&M certification, Chipotle was very enthusiastic to be a part of the process, as were many of our other tenants.
Chipotle’s Manager of Sustainability attended our tenant kick-off meeting.
Hines and Invesco are thrilled with the level of enthusiasm shown by the tenants at 1515 Wynkoop. It’s clear that sustainability is really important to them.
CREJ: Is a Platinum certification something Hines would like to accomplish across its portfolio? Bringing it back to Denver, will 1144 Fifteenth Street, the 40-story office tower under construction in downtown Denver, be Platinum certified?
Rosenthal: Hines is very focused on sustainability. It is a core value of the firm.
In fact, Hines worked closely with the USGBC to help develop some of the LEED standards that are still in practice today.
We evaluate LEED Platinum certification on a project-by-project basis and incorporate a strategy to achieve when it is consistent with the goals our investors, partners and clients.
Partnerships with forward-thinking groups like Invesco Real Estate, who was so supportive in this process at 1515 Wynkoop, are instrumental in achieving this goal.
Hines is pursuing top-tier LEED certification in the Core and Shell category for the 1144 Fifteenth Street project.
CREJ: Thanks, Stephanie and Jason.