Denver Justice Center Gains Green Award

Post office/parking garage achieves Silver LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

by / May 13, 2008

The Post Office/Parking Garage located in the new Denver Justice Center complex has received a final SILVER LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, rating from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The Post Office/Parking Garage was ranked under the "LEED for New Construction Rating System" designed to guide and distinguish high-performance commercial and institutional projects. LEED Silver is the new standard for City construction per the Greenprint Denver program and a Mayoral Executive Order issued by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

"The built environment is responsible for more than 50 percent of Denver's greenhouse gas emissions," Mayor Hickenlooper said. "This building is a perfect example of sustainable construction practices that can help us significantly reduce that impact."

The Post Office/Parking Garage, one of three buildings in the Justice Center Complex, opened on October 9, 2007. It features 637 parking spaces on five floors and the total area of the building is 241,219 square feet. Besides the Post Office, 10,000 square feet of retail space has been constructed to enhance the neighborhood and pedestrian experience for those living in and visiting the Golden Triangle.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. LEED is a third party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

"Denver Public Works and our partners, AR7 Architects and Haselden Construction LLC, prioritized environmental stewardship as an integral part of the design and construction process of the Justice Center Post Office/Parking Garage," said City Engineer Lesley Thomas. "Our ultimate goal is to ensure that all three of the structures on the Justice Center campus are appealing, engaging, functional and sustainable."

LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

"The Denver Post Office and its Mile High Station are pleased to congratulate the City of Denver and Denver Public Works in earning this prestigious Silver LEED environmental design award," says Denver Postmaster Alan Catlin. "We are also proud to share this energy efficient and environmentally friendly building with the City of Denver. They did a terrific job in designing this facility. It goes hand in hand with the U.S. Postal Service's pro-environmental and green efforts."

Silver LEED certification means that the Justice Center Post Office/Parking Garage produces these positive results:

  • 37 percent savings in water usage
  • 30 percent savings in energy bills
  • Increased ventilation with high efficiency filters
  • The use of task lighting -- all employees have been provided with individual lighting controls via task lights
  • Establishment of tenant green standards - tenants in the building are required to meet environmental design standards created for the project.
  • Implementation of operations and maintenance environmental policies - the building must be maintained sustainably

Additionally, during construction of the Justice Center Post Office/Parking Garage, 68 percent of the construction waste was recycled and at least 15 percent of materials used on the project contained recycled content and were from local sources. During construction an indoor air quality plan was closely followed, keeping the site clean and the ductwork covered. Low emission or "VOC" materials were used throughout construction; A VOC is a volatile organic compound (anything that smells bad is typically a VOC and is carcinogenic) and includes paints, adhesives, sealants and carpet systems.