Jefferson Green

File Type: Free Content, Case study
Release Date: January 2007
Average Rating:       (0 Ratings)
Jefferson Green building

Fast Facts

Address: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Company/Developer: Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
Project Specs: Build-to-suit
Project Type: Office
Square Feet: 85,000

Project History: The building was designed to meet demand for new Class A office space. The Journal Center was choosen as the site because of the high demand for office development in this area. Journal Center has the lowest vacancy rate in Albuquerque, is considered one of the most desirable addresses and the rents will support green buildings. The decision to develop Jefferson Green as a sustainable development was based on a moral philospohy and market conditions.  There is emerging demand in Albuquerque for green buildings. The design focused on achieving greater energy and water savings than had been achieved by previous buildings in this market.

Commitment to Sustainability

A three-pronged educational program has been implemented. This includes educational signage in the building, a tour program and a case study on the building’s design and construction that is posted on the USGBC Web site. The educational signage explains the key sustainable features of the building in simple terms. Signs are posted at logical locations to explain each feature and includes relevant images. Tours have been given to individuals and groups, including construction companies, students and faculty from the University of New Mexico architecture school, participants from a NAIOP seminar on green building and others. The tour explains the design and development intent for the building, design features, special construction requirements, additional first costs and projected operating savings and occupancy benefits. 

Green Features

Economic Analysis

  • No tax credits or other financial incentives were provided by the city, county or state.  The development was privately financed, with no incentives.  However, based on the energy performance of the building, it did qualify for a $0.60 per square foot federal tax deduction after construction.
  • The materials utilized for the interior provide durability and flexibility, and consequently a longer life span.
  • The building achieved 92 pecent occupancy within a one year time frame.
  • The sustainability measures added about five percent to the construction cost. Based on the reduced operating costs, this expense should be recouped within approximately five years, at a 7.5 percent discount rate.
  • Energy costs are approximately 50 percent lower than in a comparable building; $0.70/sf/year as compared to $1.80-$2 for an average office building. Water costs are approximately 30 percent lower as well. 
lobby of Jefferson Green

Site Sustainability/Materials Use

  • Two separate bus lines stop in front of the building, connecting employees and visitors to the city’s network of bus lines and the light rail system.
  • The building is very close to one of the city’s main pedestrian and bike trails, which connects to feeder trails throughout the city and the nearby light rail station. The building provides bike racks and showers.
  • Journal Center is a developed commercial area and had existing mature pine and cottonwood trees. Jefferson Green was sited to preserve several of these existing trees. Nearly 25 percent of the net site was landscaped, including this preserved vegetation and newly planted native or adapted vegetation. This landscape area provides habitat and helps control stormwater and limit the heat island effect.
  • An erosion and sedimentation control plan was implemented during construction to protect the local environment.  This included the installation of silt fences, stabilzed entries, a concrete washout area and storm drain protection.
  • The combination of presevered vegetation, new plantings, drainage swales and sod stabilization along the city arroyo continue to control erosion and sedimentation.
  • Exterior light fixtures were designed to minimize light pollution and its effects on night sky access and nocturnal habitats.
  • Based on LEED calculations, the core and shell of the building included 32 percent recycled content and 67 percent regional materials.
  • The aluminum window, storefront and curtainwall frames contain at least 45 percent recycled content. The carpet has an average of 30 percent recycled content. Furniture, wallcoverings, ceiling tile, access flooring, gypsum wall board and other products contributed additional recycled content.
  • The contractor recycled over 80 percent of the core and shell construction waste. This resulted in nearly 4,000 cubic yards of landclearing debris, wood, steel, miscellaneous metal, concrete and cardboard being diverted from the landfill.  Additional materials were recycled during construction of tenant improvements.
entrance to Jefferson Green

Energy Efficiency

  • The design of Jefferson Green focused on reducing energy usage through smart design.  The energy model predicted that Jefferson Green would use 45% less energy than a typical office building and utility bills demonstrate even better performance then expected.  The reduction in energy usage will save 858 tons of  CO2 emissions per year.
  • The building envelope includes an Energy Star high-emissivity roof that helps reduce cooling load, and high-performance glazing and sunshades to limit heat gain.
  • Cooling is provided by energy efficient direct-indirect evaporative cooling, with refrigerated air backup for humid days.  The system can run on 100% outside air for “free cooling” when weather conditions permit.  Since the underfloor air delivery systems allows 60 degree air to be used for cooling (instead of the more typical 55 degree air), free cooling can be used more of the time, and the energy needed for cooling is reduced.
  • No CFC refrigerants are used in the building.  Highly efficient T5 lighting fixtures are used throughout the building and new appliances are Energy Star rated.

Water Efficiency

  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures in building restrooms, breakrooms and coffee bars use 30 percent less water than conventional fixtures. This translates to a savings of over 220,000 gallons of water per year just from plumbing fixtures.
  • All newly planted landscaping was designed following xeric principles and uses native or adapted plants which require little irrigation.  Rainwater is directed to planted areas through passive water harvesting swales, to further limit irrigation.
  • All irrigation is supplied by the municipal industrial waste water line, so no potable water is used for irrigation.


  • The exterior design blends local traditions with high-tech performance by combining a thick stucco wall perforated by deeply recessed windows with a sleek curtain wall system, and varying the glazing and shading strategies according to the orientation of each facade.