West Valley City can put another notch on its green belt after a 10-year-old office complex reinvented itself into an energy-efficient and money-saving site.
The Legacy at Lake Park office center recently achieved a stamp of approval from the U.S. Green Building Council, earning its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating, known more commonly as a LEED certification.
The two-building office park, which is managed by real-estate company CBRE Asset Services, is the first multitenant office complex in the city to achieve LEED certification.
"It's nice to be able to do that here," said CBRE real-estate manager Brian Sedgwick. "But the hope behind getting a LEED certification is that it becomes more widespread."
The office park is the first building of its kind to earn the nationally recognized rating for energy-efficient buildings, but West Valley City has a growing list of other commercial properties that boast the same certification.
The West Valley headquarters of Quartzdyne Inc. was built in 2008 with LEED certification, as was the West Valley home of the Association of General Contractors, according to city spokesman Aaron Crim. The soon-to-be-completed Larry H. Miller megaplex theater at the Valley Fair Mall will be the only LEED-certified movie theater in Utah, Crim added.
The push by commercial building owners to get the certification is a "step in the right direction," Crim said. Many businesses looking to invest in the area look at the number of LEED-certified buildings as a positive sign for business.
"It is something that is kind of high on everyone's priority list," Crim said.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings in the United States are responsible for 39 percent of carbon-dioxide emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption and 12 percent of water consumption per year. Cutting down on that consumption makes sense from an environmental standpoint, Sedgwick said, but it also has proven to be an effective money-saver for his company. Part of the overhaul of the complex, which took about two years, includes a smarter thermostat that manages the heating and cooling systems during peak hours. Sedgwick said the system cuts back on things such as fan speed to save energy while still keeping the building comfortable.
The Legacy complex also installed new low-flow faucets and urinals in the bathrooms. As a result of some of these small but significant changes, energy costs are going down even as the number of Legacy's tenants has gone up, Sedgwick said.
The companies working in the complex also use an easy recycling system that allows people to put recyclables into one bin. Now, more than half of the waste that comes out of the office park is recycled, Sedgwick said.
The nine companies that work out of Legacy at Lake Park were on board since the start, even sacrificing space and time during the rigorous audits that preceded getting the LEED certification. The employees, along with the building's owners, understand the purpose behind it, Sedgwick said.
"It really boils down to doing the right thing for not only the owner but for the tenants and for the community," he said.