Intellicenter USA

File Type: Free Content, Case study
Release Date: January 2010
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Intellicenter in Atlanta

Fast Facts

Address: Charlotte, N.C.; Houston, Texas; Riverside, Calif.; Tampa, Fla.; Atlanta, Ga. and Dallas, Texas
Company/Developer: KDC
Project Specs: Speculative
Project Type: Office
Square Feet: 2 million

Project History: In October 2005, in a joint venture with Prudential Real Estate Investors, KDC launched Intellicenter™ -- a templated concept of branded, high performance office buildings. The Intellicenter concept sets out to bring “build to suit” features -- including “green” features -- to the speculative office building market. KDC’s program resulted in 2 million square feet of speculative office buildings with a projected commitment of $250 million. Each Intellicenter features a similar state-of-the-art design and amenity package in a cost effective and environmentally-friendly setting. The buildings are three or four stories and between 150,000 and 200,000 square feet. Intellicenters offer several important advantages, including lower operating costs, improved efficiencies and maximum flexibility to upgrade technology and expand interior components as needed for future tenant growth.

Commitment to Sustainability

Intellicenters are being developed on a speculative basis, but market demand has been extremely good. The Intellicenter project offers 1) users more efficient space and reduced overall office needs, 2) LEED designed and constructed office buildings that comply with internal mandates, 3) the ability to retain employees by providing a higher quality and environmentally friendlier alternative and 4) all of the above attributes -- provided at no added occupancy cost. We’ve made education a key part of our marketing strategy. KDC hosts seminars in which our construction teams educate leasing teams on the under-floor air and LEED certification process. Seminar attendees receive a manual, compiled by KDC, filled with information from the media, the U.S. Green Building Council and our “green” experience. Out on the road, we educate groups of brokers about how under-floor air and LEED certification can benefit their client and save them money.

Green Features

Economic Analysis

  • LEED design principles are saving KDC and our tenants money. We trace our most significant operational expense savings and fastest payback to raised access flooring and underfloor air. This design has an immediate impact to the bottom line relative to electricity costs. KDC’s typical office user shows electricity costs reduced at a minimum of 15 percent and up to as much as 30 percent.
  • KDC approaches each Intellicenter project from the perspective that LEED certification is required and not a design alternative that is subject to cost justification and pricing. Therefore, KDC has been able to maintain an ROI on each Intellicenter that is consistent with KDC’s overall investment objectives, without compromise to the LEED attributes of each project. KDC has been able to offer its users an environmentally-friendly alternative at no additional cost.
Intellicenter in Tampa

Site Sustainability/Materials Use

  • KDC strives to build relationships with local vendors in our purchase of wood, cement, aggregates, gypsum and other materials. This varies from site to site.
  • The carpet, steel, concrete aggregates and composite wood products used in Intellicenter’s design are materials with high degrees of recycled content.
  • We have strongly considered using "recycled" raised access flooring in the right circumstances. For example, in the preliminary design process of a build-to-suit for a regional governmental agency in North Texas, we based our proposal on an adaptation of the Intellicenter design which would take the certification to the Platinum level. Included in the proposal was the use of “recycled” raised flooring. The agency was open to utilizing “gently used” recycled access flooring since carpet would likely cover it.
  • During the shell construction process, KDC segregates material waste into separate containers onsite before transporting the containers off site for recycling. We also provide a designated space next to the dock in our shell buildings so future tenants can share in our efforts to recycle paper, metals and other materials.
  • To date, KDC is 100-percent compliant with sites under construction and/or completed in Atlanta, Dallas and Houston in providing public transportation "at the curb" in front of our properties. Bike storage racks are also a goal for all sites. At this point, changing rooms/shower rooms will be on a tenant by tenant choice based on the space needs outlined in the lease.
  • To make sure we follow the local practices for storm water management, KDC recruits civil engineers and landscape architects based in each city. These experts help us keep our storm water management on course. For example, in Atlanta, Dallas and Houston, we have kept initial parking density lower than the site will allow, because certain tenants simply may not require this density.  This approach may ultimately decrease runoff from concrete or asphalt.
  • All Intellicenters utilize housekeeping and pest control maintenance materials from a pre-approved list of “green” chemicals.
  • Long term erosion is controlled by carefully designing any areas with a slope of greater than 3 to 1.

Energy Efficiency

  • We found that the UFAD consumes less energy and improves indoor air quality. The reduction in energy consumption for cooling is estimated at 20 to 30 percent. This is due partly to supply air temperatures being about 10 degrees warmer to achieve the same average temperature in the space. The lower energy consumption is also due to our supply fans running at much lower speeds, using less energy than an overhead/conventional system would.
  • We utilize high performance glass with low emissivity coatings to reduce thermal gain while providing the same or better levels of daylighting and views. To reduce solar gain, we use light-colored reflective materials for our roof systems and, to date, we have used lighter tones on exterior paint colors to minimize solar gain through exterior wall systems.
  • Renewable energy (wind powered energy): We have not purchased energy credits on any of the sites, as it has not been necessary to attain the level of LEED certification we are targeting. However, it is one of the strategies available should we choose to do so.
  • We fit all rooftop units with advanced refrigerant technology, eliminating all CFC-based refrigerants from all HVAC equipment.
Intellicenter office space

Water Efficiency

  • KDC has been able to minimize evaporation-triggered water waste at the Intellicenters through the use of drip irrigation systems. As in our storm water management strategy, we consult with specially recruited local experts to determine the best type of drip system to utilize for each  Intellicenter building.
  • In addition to the low parking ratios that decrease storm runoff, we also manage water excess by using indigenous drought-tolerant plants. To a large extent, we have found that these plants only require local rainfall to thrive. By using indigenous plants, KDC prevents over-watering surrounding soil while reducing runoff and conserving potable water.
  • Innovative waste water technologies: KDC explored recycling “grey” water from drinking fountains and using condensation runoff for landscape irrigation. However, at this point, Gold LEED principles such as these are beyond our current budget.
raised floor in Intellicenter building


  • Our 100 percent use of underfloor air distribution (UFAD) is the most exciting improvement in indoor air circulation. In UFAD, KDC can bring in cool air at floor level. As the air rises from the floor to ceiling, it becomes warmer and warmer, and carries with it many of the indoor pollutants given off by copiers, printers, computers and other office equipment. After stratifying into layers of pollutants, the air passes through ceiling vents and into a HVAC unit on the building’s roof. The HVAC unit filters the “dirty” air and then returns it in a cleaned-up, recycled form back to the indoor space. KDC is committed to the UFAD approach since the normal overhead air distribution method constantly recycles pollutants back into zones occupied by tenants. The reduction in energy consumption for cooling is estimated at 20 to 30 percent.