In response to a thriving medical industry in Austin, Texas, Live Oak-Gottesman, a local full-service real estate development firm, designed and constructed the 70,000-square-foot Cedar Bend Professional Center. In the similar mindset of health for people, the realty firm constructed the center with special attention to the health of the environment.

The building, completed in 2012, scored 31 points to earn it a LEED Silver certification under the Core & Shell rating. “As a company, we believe that having buildings that are more mindful of the environment, such as being LEED certified or even a locally recognized green building standard, is important,” says Steve Younkman, CFO of Live Oak-Gottesman. “From a company standpoint, it’s economical. Tenants were requesting it. In fact, some tenants won’t lease space within a development unless the building is LEED certified or something similar.”

“There are a lot of factors that led us to make the conscious decision to be LEED certified,” Younkman continues. “We realize there is an additional cost and the development may take more time, but in the end it is worth it both economically and environmentally.”

Research data suggests the new buildings that are LEED certified help reduce electrical energy costs by 25 to 30 percent over non-LEED buildings. Since coming on line, Cedar Bend Professional Center’s monthly utility costs are 25 percent less than what they were expected to be, a figure with which Younkman says he is happy.

Construction and waste management was crucial for Cedar Bend’s LEED certification; more than 94 percent of all construction waste was diverted from landfills. Live Oak-Gottesman’s general contractor used weight tickets for every haul off-site.

To avoid wasting water, Live Oak-Gottesman implemented xeriscaping and planted only native or adaptive vegetation on the property. A drip irrigation system was installed for trees and shrubs and a sprinkler system for turf grass. The company expects to see a 47 percent water use reduction compared to non-LEED developments, which will be achieved with its landscaping measures and its low-flow fixtures. Some fixtures include one-third-gallon-per-flush toilets, one-gallon urinals, and 0.5-gallons-per-minute faucets.

Cedar Bend’s exterior contains 12,000 square feet of exterior glazing. The glazing was a combination of the Oldcastle Reliance curtainwall system and Oldcastle ICR 225 storefront system with Guardian Superneutral 68 one-inch-thick low-E glass.

The HVAC system uses an energy-efficient Trane system that consists of two 90-ton rooftop units with a combination of variable-air-volume and fan-powered terminal units for the air-handling system. The project included demand-controlled ventilation integrated with a unit economizer to minimize fresh air intake during periods of low occupancy. Additionally, the system is controlled by a centralized DDC control system, which can be monitored and adjusted remotely to minimize energy use in the building while still providing occupant comfort.

Other green features in the building are the T5 lighting fixtures, use of concrete versus asphalt for paved areas, installation of Shaw 5000 pressure-sensitive adhesive for the anchoring system for the flooring that uses 15 gram/liter of volatile organic compound versus 50 gram/liter allowable, low-VOC paints by Pittsburgh Paints, and 30 percent of the total building material content was manufactured from recycled materials.