Gov. Bill Ritter put a feather in his renewable energy cap today, announcing that the Colorado capitol building has become the first such building in the United States to obtain certification for "leadership in energy and environmental design for existing buildings" which is awarded for energy efficiency upgrades made over the past four years.
The capitol, which was constructed in 1895, also has become the first building in the country to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s new LEED operations and maintenance certification for existing buildings.
“Even with historic structures as old as our Capitol, we have become a leader in energy reduction and energy efficiency," Ritter said. "Not only does this benefit the environment, but we will save taxpayers $1 million a year on reduced and avoided energy costs.”
The LEED certification system provides an outline for buildings to use less energy, water and natural resources, and improve the indoor environment.
“This recognition couldn’t come at a better time for Colorado. It allows us to showcase the efforts of a state that is committed to the future of a sustainable built environment,” U.S. Green Building Council president and chief executive officer Rick Fedrizzi said.
The LEED-EB certification is awarded to those who can certify an existing building has been retrofitted in a manner that demonstrates certain efficiency standards for its ongoing operations and maintenance.
In addition to the Capitol, three other state buildings in the Capitol Complex previously received "LEED for Existing Buildings" certifications: the State Services Building at 1525 Sherman St., the state Judicial/Heritage Center at 14th and Broadway, and the State Human Services Building at 1575 Sherman St.
The Governor’s Residence and the Colorado Division of Labor and Employment building at 251 E. 12th Ave. are also under review for LEED certification.
Building specific improvements that have been made to the Capitol in order to obtain LEED-EB certification include water conservation efforts such as low flow toilets, use of low energy light bulbs and T-8 light fixtures, improved energy controls, use of green cleaning products, initiation and maintenance of a recycling program, purchase of "Energy Star®" electronics and equipment, and use of environmentally friendly landscaping products and plans.