LEED-ing the Way in Green Building

Every day is Earth Day at CMSWillowbrook.

We have completed over $500 million of green building projects because we are committed to preserving our natural environment and leading our industry in sustainable construction.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings.

I am one of several LEED-accredited professionals at CMSWillowbrook who help project owners navigate the program’s requirements and achieve LEED certification.

Although LEED projects are more costly to build than traditional construction, they can net a positive return on investment through lower maintenance costs and higher appraisal values.

Usually, the higher the LEED rating, the more it will cost to build. But I worked on a project where we reached the gold certification level instead of silver at no additional cost to the owner. We collaborated with the designer and subcontractors to gain four additional credits for light pollution reduction and natural daylight utilization instead of achieving credits for measurement and verification, which were not feasible for the facility. This small change made big difference in our certification level while also saving time and materials.  

The OSU-OKC Engineering Technology Center features solor panels and a wind turbine.

When CMSWillowbrook built the Engineering Technology Center at OSU-OKC, the project received LEED certification by installing a wind turbine, solar panels and a geothermal well heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Additionally, the building went up quickly due to the insulated pre-cast concrete panels which were used. Pre-cast concrete’s green building properties include recycled content, less material waste and local availability.

We have also received national recognition for our LEED projects.

Our Department of Human Services Office Building at the Capitol Complex project earned a LEED gold certification and won an Innovations Award of Merit. It was the first renovation completed using the Oklahoma Department of Capital Assets Management’s sustainability plan. The project features geo thermal, wind and solar energy systems, and sun-tracking GPS skylights, which significantly lowered the building’s power consumption. Approximately 46 percent of the building’s energy use now comes from on-site renewable energy sources.

On average, LEED projects decrease annual maintenance costs by 20 percent due to lower water and power usage, which creates a win-win-win scenario for the environment, the owner and future generations.

Next time you are thinking about going green, remember CMSWillowbrook is LEED-ing the way.

Bryan Miles is director of operations at the CMSWillowbrook Tulsa office.

Larisha Hunter