Frost Bank Tower, Austin’s largest high-rise office building, has received LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) under the Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (EB O&M) category.
LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
Frost Bank Tower is the first downtown Austin high-rise to receive certification from the USGBC under the EB O&M category, and is the second Austin property in Thomas Properties Group’s (NASDAQ: TPGI) portfolio to achieve certification following Four Points Centre’s Silver NC (New Construction) designation in June 2009.
“Achieving the USGBC’s Existing Building certification is a challenging and time-consuming process that requires a great deal of historical property performance information. Our LEED Gold certification was well worth the effort and gives the building a competitive edge as more and more companies are looking for sustainable offices from both a cost-saving and environmental perspective,” said John Kelley, Vice President of Property Management with Thomas Properties.
Frost Bank was able to achieve the Gold certification due to its exceptionally high EPA Energy Star rating of 92 out of 100, its water conservation features, waste minimization, green janitorial practices and innovative, corporate-driven sustainability policies and operating procedures.
By using less energy and water, LEED certified buildings reduce operating expenses and greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier environment for building occupants and the larger community.
Thomas Properties is pursuing the greening of its portfolio through the strategic use of an internal Green Team, its management personnel and service providers rather than employing outside consultants. This allows its onsite property management staff to gain in-depth knowledge of the system and continue effective sustainability practices in daily operations well past the certification process. At Frost Bank Tower, Senior Property Manager Sammie Baker and her staff are well-equipped to deliver a high performance building and a healthier, quality work environment for the building’s tenants.
“When we started working on the LEED documentation for certification of Frost Bank Tower the building was already very energy and water efficient due to Thomas Properties Group’s proactive high performance operational strategies,” said Daniele Horton, Sustainability Manager with Thomas Properties Group. “We were able to achieve a Gold rating by documenting what was already in place and taking advantage of low-cost opportunities to improve the facility’s sustainability such as implementing our corporate sustainability policies, green tenant improvement guidelines and instituting occupant surveys and procedures for indoor air quality.”
“No other real estate company has our 20+ years of experience developing and operating environmentally friendly projects that create healthier and more productive workplaces for tenants, reduce energy and water use and save money,” said James A. Thomas, Chairman and CEO of Thomas Properties Group. “We take a long-term view of the buildings we own and manage, and we firmly believe that reducing our carbon footprint and cutting operating expenses will give us an even stronger competitive advantage going forward.”
Thomas Properties’ focus on green building extends back to 1989 while planning Playa Vista, California (near Marina del Rey) as an urban infill, smart growth community that was pedestrian and environmentally friendly. In 1998, Thomas Properties Group designed and developed a state-of-the-art headquarters for the California Environmental Protection Agency in downtown Sacramento. One of the most energy efficient buildings in the U.S., the building became a model for sustainable construction and green operations. It was the first high-rise building to receive LEED EB Platinum certification and it is still the largest LEED EB rated building in the world.
Built in 2003, the signature 33-story Frost Bank Tower features more than 530,000 square feet of premier office space in the heart of the Austin Central Business District on the corner of Congress Avenue and Fourth Street, just blocks from the Texas State Capitol. On-site amenities include conference facilities, a dry cleaner, a full-service bank, ATM, deli/carry-out restaurants, coffee shop, overnight courier drop box, and a fitness center. Its center-core, column-free design provides for extremely flexible and efficient tenant layouts with ample daylighting and views.