LEED In Action

With a deep focus on health, wellness, biophilic design, energy efficiency, climate change mitigation and technology, Bower brings new meaning to sustainability. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is one measure Bower uses to determine our impact on the natural environment and building inhabitants. More commonly referred to by its acronym, LEED, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world [1].

You’ve seen plaques and heard it mentioned on building tours, but what does it mean to be a LEED Certified building?

What is LEED certification?

Developed by the United States Green Building Council nearly 20 years ago, LEED delivers a comprehensive framework for green building design, construction, operations and performance. A LEED certification is determined by points earned through green building strategies across several categories. The LEED certification includes four rating levels based on points– Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum which requires a building to earn 80+ points.

Why LEED?

LEED helps create healthier spaces—both indoors and out. The LEED framework focuses on many key areas of environmental concern such as carbon emissions, energy use, water consumption and waste diversion. It also addresses indoor air quality, materials, mobility and connection to the natural world. Certified projects are estimated to have specified more than $100 billion in green materials to date and by 2030, LEED projects will have diverted more than 540 million tons of waste. So the real question is, “why not LEED?”[2]

Bower: LEED v4 Gold

Bower followed an integrated design process that ensured sustainability was considered at every turn. Early on, the team conducted a critical exercise that explored all sustainable possibilities within the building. Using the LEED framework as a guide, the team performed a SWOT analysis and set sustainability goals. Many details like local climate conditions, design feasibility, budget and tenant experience were considered in this process.

From there, the construction and engineering teams took all of the ideas generated and ran them through design schematics, energy models, pricing exercises and more to hone in on the best solutions that were selected for our final building design.

From concept through design and into completion, Bower received 64 points, and is proudly a LEED Gold certified building. Here are a few of the key highlights of our certification:

Energy Efficiency

Bower was designed to use 32% less energy than a typical building. Energy efficient features include:

  • A 75 kW cogeneration turbine produces electricity on site for the building and generates waste heat that is used by the building’s hot water system
  • High efficiency HVAC system with heat pumps and a central condenser water loop with variable speed pumps to reduce pumping energy
  • Highly-efficient condensing hot water heaters
  • Heat recovery on the central ventilation unit for the residential floors, where the heat is extracted from the exhaust air and used to heat incoming fresh air
  • Efficient building façade with a modest 33% window-to-wall ratio, high performance glazing, increased insulation, and windows with View Smart Glass
  • High-efficiency LED lighting throughout
  • ENERGY STAR® rated appliances
  • Water-efficient flow fixtures help conserve energy by reducing hot water demand.

Water

Bower was designed to use 37% less water than a typical building. Water-saving features include:

  • Stormwater is captured, filtered and directed to on-site injection wells, resulting in 60% less site runoff from pre-development conditions
  • Irrigation demand is reduced by 83% by landscaping with native and adaptive vegetation with low water needs
  • Water efficient fixtures help conserve water without impacting the user experience

Materials

Bower was built from materials that promote a healthy indoor environment. Additionally, nearly 80% of all construction waste was recycled.

  • Only paints and sealants that meet stringent health guidelines were used
  • Flooring, cabinetry and countertops were selected based on aesthetic and performance requirements as well as their environmental characteristics, including low negative impacts to human health via off-gassing
  • Unit heat pumps feature near hospital-grade filtration (MERV-13) to remove contaminants
  • All hard surface flooring is FloorScore® certified
  • All carpet is Green Label Plus™ certified
  • Composite woods (cabinetry, doors and wood trim) contain no add urea-formaldehyde resins

[1] US Green Building Council. “Why LEED”. 2021. https://www.usgbc.org/leed/why-leed

[2] US Green Building Council. “Why LEED”. 2021. https://www.usgbc.org/leed/why-leed

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