With a goal of achieving LEED Gold certification for the Kansas Leadership Center building, we started early in the design phase and collaborated with the client to find ways to save energy and conserve resources. During this phase, we considered many factors, including site design, water efficiency, energy, building materials and indoor air quality.
The building site is located in an urban area with existing infrastructure which preserves habitat and natural resources. Proximity to community services helps to reduce transportation impacts such as air pollution. The building is ideally located near Wichita’s Downtown Transit Center, providing access to many bus routes for visitors and staff and encouraging public transportation. We also wanted to encourage another form of environmentally-friendly transportation: bike commuters. So, we provided bike racks and locker rooms with showers.
Installing water-conserving plumbing fixtures increased water efficiency in the building by 45% over standard water-use baselines calculated for the building. We also used drought-resistant landscape materials and no permanent irrigation system to conserve water use on the site.
The Kansas Leadership Center building demonstrates a 24% cost savings over a standard building baseline calculation. A minimum two-year energy contract was purchased that will provide at least 35% of the building’s electricity from a renewable energy source. Data for the entire building’s energy and water use is shared with ENERGY STAR to provide ongoing accountability of building energy consumption.
A minimum of 50% of the project’s construction waste and debris was diverted from landfills by being recycled or salvaged. Additionally, a minimum of 20% of building materials were extracted and manufactured within the region, stimulating the economy and reducing the environmental impacts resulting from transportation.
Indoor Air Quality
Because indoor air quality is important to the health and welfare of the building occupants, we made sure that all furniture and other finish materials met Greenguard’s indoor air quality standards. These standards restrict or reduce volatile organic compounds (VOC) from being emitted. We also designed the building to maximize exterior views for 90% of the building’s occupants.
Overall, the Kansas Leadership Center building will serve as an efficient, environmentally-friendly conference center for the Kansas Health Foundation for years to come.