Address: Lakewood, Colo.
Company/Developer: Weston Solutions, Inc.
Project Specs: New Construction
Project Type: Office
Square Feet: 32,000
Project History: Weston is performing the green redevelopment of a former Brownfields site in the western suburb of Denver, Colorado. The project site was formerly a car dealership and service center (4.5 acres) and the remaining buildings had been abandoned for several years. Because of the site’s history of environmental contamination, most potential developers were apprehensive about redeveloping it, and the property became blighted. For Weston, however, a company that offers full-service remediation, the site’s contaminated condition was not a barrier but an opportunity to restore the site to beneficial use.
Phase I opened in the summer of 2011 and consists of a two-story, 32,000-square-foot office building. The roof includes an accessible patio and more than 9,000 square feet of GreenGrid® roof. Weston occupies the ground floor and will lease out office space on the upper floor. Phase I also contains a bank branch situated on the northeast corner of the site. Phase II is a larger, mixed-use building that will include retail shops and restaurants on the ground floor and office space on the upper floors.
The combination of site selection, green deconstruction, design, and construction allowed Garrison Station to receive LEED® Gold pre-certification from the U.S. Green Building Council under the USGBC LEED v3 Building Design & Construction (BD&C) Core & Shell program. This certification resulted in Garrison Station being awarded the 2011 Community Sustainability Award by the city of Lakewood.
The strategy for Garrison Station was to develop a building that would suit the needs of Weston’s Regional Headquarters and provide substantial amenities to future tenants.
Commitment to Sustainability
At Weston, we pride ourselves not only on offering our clients innovative sustainability services, but also integrating sustainability into every aspect of how we conduct business. Because we believe sustainability provides many benefits, we want to ensure that we reap those benefits ourselves. Applying sustainability principles to all aspects of our operations provides us with hands-on experience in addressing implementation obstacles that we can then apply to our client sustainability service offerings. Lastly, although it sounds cliché, sustainability is the “right thing to do” and is an important part of Weston's culture and values. Weston’s internal sustainability efforts generally fall into four categories: Offices, Operations, Project Execution and Make-a-Difference.
Regarding new office construction, Weston has applied its green building design and construction expertise to create high-performance office space. In terms of existing office space, Weston has made efforts to reduce our environmental footprint. Weston’s Chicago office recently won the Leadership in Tenant Excellence Award in the Chicago Green Office Challenge. This program, a collaborative effort between the City of Chicago and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, evaluated about 150 companies in terms of energy and water use, waste management, transportation and outreach. Weston was one of 16 firms to achieve the Top Tier performance category.
The nature of our project work increasingly revolves around sustainability. Weston ensures that we integrate sustainability principles into project execution by implementing a Greening Projects Initiative.
Weston’s Denver office is the anchor tenant for the building, thus taking much of the speculative nature out of the development. The motivation for building Phase I of the Garrison Station development lies more in the desire to build a building that showcases Weston’s commitment to sustainable brownfield development and houses our Rocky Mountain headquarters than it was to achieve large profits on the first phase of the project. However, the office building was not intended to be a loss leader. Weston anchors the project with a 12,730-square-foot lease on the first floor of the two-story building at a $19.00 NNN rate with $.50 rent increases on a seven year lease.
Neptune and Company, Inc. leases the remainder of the first floor with their 2,444-square-foot lease at a $16.00 NNN rate with $1.00 rent increases on a five year lease, and received a $45 a square foot Tenant Improvement allowance. The property is currently 50.47 percent occupied. Market fundamentals have prevented the lease up of the remainder of the space as quickly as initially planned, but when the second floor is leased at a $19.00 NNN rate, the Cash on Cash return is 100.22 percent. This includes a land sale to Chase Bank for a market high of $53.78 a square foot.
A majority of the profitability for this project comes with the sale or development of Phase II. This is partly due to the necessary site wide improvements and cleanup costs that currently burden Phase I and the ability to spread development costs over a higher density planned for Phase II. The overall development model shows a return of roughly 15 percent IRR.
Weston’s GreenGrid® green roof system uses roofing modules made from recycled plastic planted with drought-tolerant species.
- Materials specified for the project were made with regard to recycled content, regional material, and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood. The project achieved the following:
- 10% of materials (based on cost) contained pre-consumer and/or post-consumer recycled content.
- 10% of materials (based on cost) contained regional materials that were extracted, harvested and assembled within 500 miles of the building.
- 50% of new woods products (bases on cost) were FSC certified wood. FSC is a certification for wood products grown in responsibly managed forests. The building has been designed with windows to maximize the amount of daylight that enters the building, also reducing energy usage. The windows maximize views for building occupants.
- The exterior skin consists of three primary materials. The majority of the skin is a full depth, locally produced brick masonry, with “punched” window openings. The south facade along with a portion of the west facades are a high efficiency glass curtainwall system. As a method of energy conservation, the vision glazing in the building is low-e insulated, with a slight reflective tint, which further enhances the energy efficiency of the glazing system. The “punched” windows are provided with a vertical fin, oriented for maximum benefit, to shade the east and west windows, allowing daylight and visibility through the windows, while reducing the solar heat gain of the interior space. The glass curtainwall system incorporates horizontal sunshades, also oriented for the maximum benefit, to reduce heat gain and increase natural daylight. The remaining portion of the skin, primarily located at the egress stair near the primary entry and continuing as a roof screen for the mechanical system, is a pre-finished corrugated metal panel.
- The roof was designed as a fully adhered, EPDM system, on a minimum of 4” rigid roof insulation and 1” steel decking. The roof is designed as a complete system, and allowed for the installation of a GreenGrid® living roof. A concrete slab at the air handling unit, provided the structural support necessary as well as mitigated much of the vibration noise of the air handling unit. Areas of the roof covered with GreenGrid® are light in color, reducing heat gain of the building and the heat island effect to the greater microclimate.
- The lobby floor is durable and contains a light color porcelain tile with a carpet inlay at the lobby seating area. The elevator wall is clad in a natural, textured stone tile, with a high efficiency LED lighting panel incorporated into the wall.
- The mechanical system blends tenant flexibility with maximum energy efficiency. The rooftop unit provides a variable air system, allowing for different zones within the building, with natural gas heat and evaporative cooling. The unit is outfitted with MERV filters; preventing contaminants from entering the air supply; and an increased outdoor air flow, providing greater interior ventilation than is required. The unit incorporates a Dolphin water treatment system for the evaporative cooling; this system treats the water in the unit, preventing build-up in the lines, with ultraviolet light rather than chemicals.
- The project is pursuing LEED and is designed to meet LEED Gold standards which will make Garrison Station the first sustainable development and transit oriented project in the City of Lakewood Currently the project is pre-certified as LEED Gold. The LEED design phase was recently submitted to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) for review.
- Weston incorporated a “green” (vegetated) roof into the design of the Garrison Station. Weston’s GreenGrid® green roof system uses roofing modules made from recycled plastic that are planned with drought-tolerant species. This roof system provides several advantages over traditional reflective rooftops, including storm water management, a habitat for wildlife, and helping to lower urban air temperatures. Additionally, tenants enjoy the energy efficiency, aesthetics, and noise reduction provided by a GreenGrid® roof. Areas of the roof not covered with GreenGrid® are light in color, reducing heat gain of the building and the heat island effect to the greater microclimate.
- As a method of energy conservation, the vision glazing in the building is low-e insulated, with a slight reflective tint, which further enhances the energy efficiency of the glazing system.
- Garrison Station was designed as a mixed-use development centered around the Garrison Station Light Rail Station. The rail stop is approximately a block and a half away from the Garrison Station development. The rail station is part of the line that connects the Jefferson County Federal Center to Downtown Denver. In addition, the Garrison Station project is in close proximity to three bus stops. The project incorporated several features to encourage environmental friendly transportation including bike racks, showers and lockers, as well as preferred parking for alternative fuel vehicles. The lighting system was designed with high efficiency fixtures and bulbs along with occupancy sensors in as many applicable rooms as possible.
- The building and all of its components and assemblies have been modeled in an energy modeling program. The result of the model indicates energy reduction of 31 percent for the building’s energy usage and a reduction of 33 percent in the building’s energy cost when compared to a typical building.
- Refrigerants and HVAC systems minimize or eliminate the emission of compounds that contribute to ozone depletion and global climate change. The base building HVAC equipment complies with the maximum threshold described below for the combined contributions to ozone depletion and global warming potentials.
- Fire suppression systems in the project building do not use ozone-depleting substances (CFCs[Chlorofluorocarbons], HCFCs [Hydrochloroflourocarbons] or halons).
- The local zoning requirement for open space on the parcel is 0.18 acres. The project contains 0.61 acres of open space, exceeding the zoning requirement by 237 percent.
A GreenGrid® green roof system covers over 80 percent of the building’s roof providing additional ecological habitat and biodiversity.
- The building’s plumbing fixtures were designed and selected to reduce overall water use. Plumbing fixtures and devices installed throughout the building include high efficiency toilets (<1.6 gallons per flush [gpf]), low-flow urinals (.125 gpf), auto-sensor flush valves, and auto-sensor lavatory faucets. When compared to an average office building of identical size, the Garrison Station building uses 45 percent less water.
- The landscaping around the site is another area which resulted in a significant water savings. Weston used native and adapted landscape plants and species; these provide landscaping with minimal water use requirements. They are also drought tolerant landscape features. The mix of architectural rock also ties the landscaping together while requiring no water. The rock replaces sod so there is not any sod on the property, which also saves a lot of landscaping water and also creates a pleasant outdoor space.
- The entire site uses a drip landscape irrigation system to efficiently and effectively water landscape features while reducing water used for irrigation purposes. The system is set to water during the evenings which further decreases any water losses due to evaporation. As the plants mature the amount of irrigation needed should be reduced, which will improve the overall water usage performance.
Garrison Station has been designed as a transit oriented, mixed-use development, incorporating retail and office space centered around the Garrison Light Rail Station. The rail station is part of the current 12.1 mile expansion project to bring light rail to the West Denver corridor. The West Corridor will connect the Jefferson County Government Center in Golden to Downtown Denver’s Auraria West Campus with several stops in the west corridor. Construction of the West Corridor began in 2008 and is expected to be completed in early 2013.
There are six bus stop located within close proximity to Garrison Station. Access points to the site exist from three of the four surrounding streets. Village Parkway is the only street without direct access to the property because it is adjacent to personal residences and the City of Lakewood requested to keep traffic flow on this street to a minimum.
The parking structure has direct access to the building. Surface parking for visitors and employees surround the building to the North and East and are immediately adjacent to the drive entering off of Colfax as well as the drive off of Garrison. The building’s parking lot includes preferred parking spaces for low emitting and highly fuel efficient vehicles.
A wide variety of amenities exist within a one mile radius of Garrison Station. Nearby amenities include 30 restaurants including national fast food chains, a Starbucks, a variety of casual dining and local establishments. Five full service banks are also located within one mile of the site. In addition, several retail/service stores are located within close proximity.
The project site sits on a formerly blighted car dealership. The site is located within 1/2 mile of a residential zone or neighborhood with an average density of 10 units per acre net and within 1/2 mile of at least 10 basic services (i.e. restaurants, grocery stores, schools, places of worship, banks, parks, etc.) and with pedestrian access between the building and the services.
The site was within the FEMA 100-year floodplain when we acquired the property. After engineering and construction, the floodplain was modified using the Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) and Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) process and this removed the floodplain encumbrance from the site. This opened the door for an adjacent corner pad to be developed by another party which helped anchor the first phase of development.
The siteplan utilizes a lot of open space, over 200 percent more than the City zoning requirements, and native and adaptive landscaping materials to create a vibrant and welcoming development. The GreenGrid® roof also creates a useable space and provides for fantastic views of both downtown and the Front Range.
The site has bicycle storage racks within 200 yards of the building’s main entrance, which encourages the tenants to utilize the prominent bike network in the area.
Because the site is somewhat constrained, underground reinforced concrete pipes are used to store the minor and major storm water events instead of a surface water detention pond. This allows for maximum parking functionality.
- Weston used green deconstruction demolition principles by systematically taking the buildings apart and segregating materials for salvaging and recycling instead of bulldozing. This resulted in the ability to recycle or reuse approximately 87 percent of the construction debris.
The Garrison Station Phase I project has embraced innovation by implementing and selecting the newest and most economically sustainable building features available today. The building has been designed to be able to accept and incorporate future technological innovations that are anticipated to become economically feasible in the future.
Weston took a unique approach to harvesting daylight by incorporating the central clerestory into the design. Because daylight is very coveted by tenants, we felt it was necessary to design a feature that would allow more tenants to benefit from the natural light source. Because of this approach, tenants with offices on the interior of the building are able to obtain natural daylight, whereas in more traditional buildings they would not. Not only does this help tenant comfort, but it also reduces the power consumption used for lighting.
A second innovative feature is our GreenGrid® roof system. Green roofs are beginning to slowly catch on in the west, but our GreenGrid® product has been successfully used for over 10 years east of the Mississippi River. GreenGrid® has several benefits which factored into the decision to use it to cover over 80 percent of our roof. The benefits of GreenGrid® over a traditional roof system include the following: Improved storm water detention; Improved storm water quality; Increased energy efficiency; and improved aesthetics.
A third innovative feature is that the HVAC unit is equipped with a Dolphin WaterCare condenser water treatment system. The Dolphin WaterCare system immediately reduces the environmental footprint of a facility by eliminating typical toxic water treatment chemicals, and utilizing the resource efficient, pulse powered Dolphin System to treat condenser water.
Add a Comment
We welcome your thoughtful comments. Please comply with our Community rules. All comments will display your real name.