The BRP designed Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center in Denton, TX is now LEED Gold certified! LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold status is the second to highest ranking achievable under the LEED green building certification program. The highly collaborative effort took more than three years to achieve but will benefit the hotel for years to come.
“In order to obtain that level of compliance, our team of owner, LEED consultants, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers, architects, civil engineers, landscape architects and interior designers had to obtain at least 60 points. We were able to achieve 62 on this project,” explains Gerri Kielhofner, BRP Architect & Partner. To compare, the next highest level, LEED Platinum, requires a minimum of 80.
While the formal certification process started as soon as the hotel achieved its certificate of occupancy, the process begins at the very start of the project. “We had a design charette with the entire team during the initial design phase. This was a full-day meeting. We reviewed what the potential LEED points we both wanted to satisfy and felt were achievable given our current situation.” Next, the LEED consultant completes the LEED checklist which shows how many points are in the yes, maybe or no column for each possible point (there are 100 possible). As the project progressed and the design evolved, this checklist was updated several times.
Many features of the hotel were designed specifically with LEED Gold certification in mind, starting with a site that was selected near multiple amenities, alternative transportation access for guests and employees, water efficient landscaping as well as making sure roof and paved surfaces would not contribute to a heat island effect. Other attributes Gerri and the design team specified included regional materials and certified wood for building products, low-emitting materials so the indoor air environment was conducive to proper health and comfort, and highly efficient mechanical systems that use less energy.
“The client was a major contributor to the process and final certification by participating in all aspects of the LEED process. They encouraged the design team to pursue points that in some cases added additional cost to the project but were beneficial to the well-being of the occupants. O’Reilly Hospitality Development has also developed a green housekeeping system. They installed educational signage to promote green building design which encourages others to respect the environment,” says Gerri.
The new LEED certification will benefit the hotel, convention center as well as the city of Denton. “Obtaining LEED Gold Certification is going to allow us to go after companies that are very green and environmentally friendly,” says Todd Muilenburg, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Denton Embassy Suites. “There’s a lot of corporations out there that only seek out properties that have these kinds of things, so it opens the door for a lot of new opportunities for us at the hotel.”
BRP is currently involved in the design of four other LEED projects:
The Embassy Suites Hotel and Red Wolf Convention Center in Jonesboro, AR (anticipating LEED Silver at this time)
The Cambria Hotel in downtown Omaha, NE (anticipating LEED Gold at this time)
The Cambria Hotel in Louisville, KY (anticipating LEED certification under Version 4 LEED)
The Cambria Hotel in Sarasota, FL (anticipating LEED certification under Version 4 LEED)