Green Buildings

About LEED

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.

LEED Certification has four levels, Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Executive Order No. 123 mandates all new City buildings and major renovations will be certified to LEED Gold Certification.  Read the DEN LEED Campus Case Study to learn more about LEED Certification and read more about what DEN is doing to integrate energy efficiency, conservation and sustainability into our facilities and systems.

LEED Campus Case Study

DEN LEED Certifications

Concourse C West, Five-Gate Expansion – LEED Gold

The Concourse C West Expansion project provides five new mainline gates and reconfigures four other gates to provide DEN and its major tenant an efficient and state of the art facility. The Gold Level means this project has achieved 20+ more points (72 out of a possible 110) above the minimum level for Certification. Working within the constraints of a major existing International Airport and using many of the exiting 20+ year old systems, this level of achievement was difficult for the airport team to achieve. Innovative concepts used to obtain LEED certification included: 

  • LED lighting throughout the new expansion.
  • 16% less energy compared with the baseline building.
  • 100% of the energy cost offset with renewable energy sources, for the first three years.
  • Diverting over 92% of the on-site generated construction waste from landfills.
  • 20% less water compared with the baseline building. 

Westin Denver International Airport Hotel and Transit Center – LEED Platinum

The Westin Denver International Airport is the highest LEED-rated hotel at any major airport. The Westin Denver International Airport is a commanding glass and steel structure located at the south end of the iconic Jeppesen Terminal. The building features 433,000 square feet of hotel and conference space, and offers 519 guest rooms, 35 spacious suites and a 37,500-square-foot conference center. All of this sits atop the airport’s integrated Transit Center, which offers direct commuter rail connectivity to downtown Denver as well as bus rapid transit to the surrounding Denver suburbs.

The impressive facility was designed by Gensler and built by MHS, a tri-venture comprised of contractors Mortenson, Hunt and Saunders. Gensler also designed the 82,000-square-foot open-air plaza that connects the terminal to the Hotel and Transit Center. The Hotel and Transit Center was designed to reduce energy cost by approximately 49 percent, reduce total energy use by approximately 43 percent and use 30 percent less water than conventional designs. This was accomplished by incorporating design elements to increase the efficiency of the building, installing high efficiency mechanical systems and taking advantage of daylighting via wall-to-wall windows in rooms and a panoramic, three-story-tall glass wall in the hotel’s conference area.

Other sustainable design features of the Hotel and Transit Center include: 

  • Landscaping that uses native or adapted plant species with very low water requirements
  • Low-flow showerheads and dual-flush toilets
  • Demand-control ventilation in spaces with varying occupancy levels such as conference rooms and common areas
  • A sophisticated energy management and control system provides the facility operations team unprecedented insight into real-time building performance and operations
  • Reduced landfill waste by diverting and recycling over 65 percent of construction debris
  • High-performance lighting systems deliver exceptional light quality and quantity for both general illumination and highlight lighting, while integrating with daylight harvesting controls

Fire Station 35 – LEED Gold

Denver Fire Department Station #35 is the first station built on DEN property which is not an ARFF (airfield) facility. The intent of this station is to serve the needs of DEN’s Airport City future public/private development along Pena Boulevard as well as the new Westin Hotel and Transit Center. The 18,000 SF, two-story facility contains four Apparatus Bays, 10 dorm rooms, a work out room, kitchen and living spaces along with offices for the 24/7 station needs. The second story will contain the offices for the entire DFD DEN Division. The design of the facility follows the new ‘modern west’ aesthetic required by new development while integrating several sustainable and green systems in the building. Innovative concepts used to obtain LEED certification included:

  • Designated preferred parking for users of low-emitting or fuel efficient vehicles. 8% of total parking is designated for LEV/FEV vehicles
  • Exceeding local zoning requirements for green-space by 50% for a total of 27,452 square feet of vegetated open space
  • Targeting a savings of 40% of total indoor potable water usage
  • The project encourages environmentally responsible forest management by using a minimum of 50% Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood based on cost
  • LED lighting throughout the building

DEN Data Center – LEED Silver

Initiated in 2012, the DEN Data Center is the first true Design-Build Project at DEN. The data center is designed to be concurrently maintainable meeting the Uptime Institute Tier III standards. The Tier III topology targets a demonstrated 99.98% of uptime reliability and reduces unplanned failures to a 4-hour event every 2.5 years or 1.6 hours on an annual basis. The DEN Data Center is designed and constructed for a minimum of N+1 for mechanical, electrical and other systems and components.

The DEN Data Center achieved LEED Silver with 53 points featuring the following:

  • Modular building design fully shop-fabricated in a controlled environment to maximize construction efficiency, reduce construction waste, and maximize the indoor environmental quality
  • The building performs 38% better compared with the baseline building performance
  •  The building uses more than 40% less water compared with the baseline building water usage and uses no potable water for landscaping