The Lazarus Building

File Type: Free Content, Case study
Release Date: January 2007
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Lazarus building

*2007 Green Development Award Winner*

Fast Facts

Address: Columbus, Ohio
Company/Developer: The Georgetown Company
Project Specs: Speculative
Project Type: Mixed-Use 
Square Feet: 750,000

Project History: The Lazarus “Building” is six separate structures, the inital building was constructed in 1909 and the remaining five constructed throughout the 20th century. The separate structures were interwoven as additions were made. Lazarus, during its lifetime as a retail emporium, had been Columbus’ most iconic building. Upon Federated Department Store’s decision to close the Lazarus department store in 2002, The Georgetown Company, acting on behalf of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC) reached an agreement with Federated for it to donate the building to CDDC.  CDDC is a not-for-profit corporation organized by Columbus’ Mayor and the city’s business leadership to spearhead the redevelopment of Columbus’ downtown area. 

Commitment to Sustainability

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a major tenant in the building.  CDDC, EPA and Georgetown share the goal of having Lazarus serve as a principal example for Ohio residents to understand the importance of sustainable development. Viewed as a “teaching tool,” the building contains exhibits on the nation’s environmental challenges and how Lazarus has dealt with such challenges. Tours will be given for Columbus school children, enabling them to learn “the lessons of Lazarus.”  As of 2007, the Lazarus Building  was the largest mixed-use renovation project in the U.S. to receive a Gold-Level LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Green Features 

Economic Analysis

  • The water-saving strategies used in the building has reduced water consumption by in excess of 50 percent.
  • The cash flow being generated from the renewed building is being used to finance new bond issues which will fund other downtown redevelopment projects.
lobby of Lazarus building

Photo by Fred Squillante

Site Sustainability/Materials Use

  • The Lazarus Building is a redevelopment project. Redeveloping a building minimizes damage to undisturbed land and minimizes the quantity of new materials that will be required for the project.
  • The building was designated a qualified contaminated site by the Ohio EPA. The asbestos inspection revealed the presence of asbestos-containing materials throughout the building. These materials were safely removed and the building prepared for its new life.
  • Careful attention was paid during demolition and construction so that stormwater, wind and vehicles would not carry sediment from the site onto local surfaces.
  • In excess of 11 million pounds of demolition debris, including metals, concrete, wood, ceiling tile, carpet and cardboard were recycled.
  • The Lazarus Building has 306,065 square feet of building per arce of land, which reduces surrounding environmental disturbance and reduces urban sprawl.
  • The building is near a number of Central Ohio Transit Authority bus stops and pedestrian shelters.
  • The steel and metal materials are composed of a combination of post-industrial and post-consumer recycled products. The aluminum storefronts are also composed of recycled content.
  • The cement in the concrete was partially replaced by fly ash and ground granulated blast furnace (GGBF) slag. Both of these materials are bi-products of industrial processes.
  • The wood used for architectural work and finish and rough carpentry within the public areas is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).  FSC certified wood has been reaped from forests that maintain sustainable harvesting practices.
  • All of the engineered wood used for the architectural work or finished carpentry contains recycled material. 
  • The gypsum board is composed of recycled material; the paper face is 100 percent composed of recycled material.
  • The thermal insulation is composed of a combination of post-industrial and post-consumer recycled material.
  • The public areas are outfitted with carpet which is composed of post-industrial and post-consumer recycled products.  The carpet is made of recycled nylon material. 
  • The terrazzo thin-set tile has 100 percent recycled glass content.
entrance to Lazarus building

Energy Efficiency

  • Glass with a special coating was installed that retains more heat within the building during the winter than conventional double-pane glass. The coating also blocks approximately one-third of the solar heat while allowing daylight to enter the tenant space.  This keeps the tenant space cooler in the summer.
  • The thermally-broken aluminum window frames are light, strong, durable and require minimal maintenance. The frames were designed with an insulating connection between the exterior and interior surfaces that reduces the flow of heat through the frame.
  • Well-insulated exterior walls and roofs reduce heat loss and heat gain.
  • Energy efficent lighting is used throughout the building.
  • Daylight is harvested through a central atrium serving each 100,000-square-foot floor of the seven-story building.
  • The air supply system allows the use of airside economizers. These bring in 50 percent outside air when the outside air temperature is below 55 degrees and when the building needs cooling.
  • The “leaving temperature” set-point for the cooling tower water is adjusted based upon the outside wet-bulb temperature.
  • Condenser water from the chillers is recovered for heating during chiller operation.

Water Efficiency 

  • Rain water is collected from the East, West and North building roofs and directed to a 40,000-gallon settling and storage tank at the front street level.  Water is then pumped to the 50,000-gallon dome-style storage tank on the roof, which was reconditioned for this purpose. Rainwater and recycled water is used as part of a “gray water” program to provide irrigation and other uses within the building.
  • The restroom facilities are equipped with waterless urinals.  These urinals are expected to save up to 30% of water usage.
  • Sensor-operated toilets and faucets are used in all bathrooms. The flush-o-meter for each fixture operates by means of a battery-powered infrared sensor. Once the user enters the sensor’s effective range and then steps away, the unit initiates the flushing cycle.  This results in a more hygienic and water-efficient fixture.


  • The centerpiece of the building is a 15,000-square-foot roof garden located in the midsection of the main Lazarus Building’s roof, which adds to insulting the roof area. Displaying more than 60 plant varieties, the garden retains 50 percent of the rainfall that hits its surface.
  • The building contains exhibits on the nation’s environmental challenges and how Lazarus has dealt with such challenges. “The lessons of Lazarus” will continue to be available to all occupants and visitors to this recycled building.