Unico Colorado was also honored at a separate event for their green leadership at Rocky Mountain Green, the region’s largest sustainability conference
DENVER (May 9, 2019) — Located in the heart of Denver’s reborn Platte Street neighborhood, The Circa Building was built for the innovators and makers of tomorrow. Not only does this award-winning, Class A office building offers next-generation connectivity to support the most demanding of technology requirements, it was also developed with the health of the environment and its inhabitants in mind.
Built to prestigious LEED Platinum standards, The Circa Building officially received its plaque and certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) last month. Unico hosted Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC, and his team on a tour of the building to commemorate the occasion. The tour was led by Unico’s Vice President and Regional Director Austin Kane and Associate Director of Solar Investments Adam Knoff. They were joined by Unico’s Senior Manager of Sustainable Real Estate Edmée Knight, Property Manager Matt Pavlakovich, Assistant Property Manager Maria Clark, and Chief Engineer Richard Wren.
By working collaboratively from the concept stage, the partners on Circa were able to achieve one of Denver’s highest performing buildings for an exceptionally low premium.
Knoff was a key member of Unico’s in-house sustainability group that contributed to The Circa Building’s LEED Platinum certification. He is also a member of Unico Solar Investors, a subsidiary of Unico that developed and continues to operate the building’s rooftop solar panel system (196 kW PV system), which offsets nearly a third of the total energy costs of the building. Last year, he accepted the City of Denver’s Mayor’s Design Award for “Sustainable Style” on behalf of Unico for its sustainability achievements with The Circa Building.
According to Knoff in an interview last year, it was Unico’s collaborative and integrative approach that led to Circa’s sustainability wins. “Developing and constructing a high-performance building doesn’t need to require higher costs,” he wrote. “By working collaboratively from the concept stage, the partners on Circa were able to achieve one of Denver’s highest performing buildings for an exceptionally low premium.”
Owned and developed by Unico Properties LLC, a subsidiary of Unico Investment Group LLC, The Circa Building was Unico’s first ground-up development in Denver. Unico development subsidiary Costigan Integrated oversaw the development of the building.
Exploring both finished common spaces and tenant spaces that are currently being built out, tour participants were able to see that the sustainable design is in the details. For instance, the stairwell—an area usually paid little attention beyond safety standards—is located on the side of the building with large windows incorporated at each landing to flood the space with natural light and encourage employees to choose the stairs.
On the roof, the density of the solar panels was an unexpected delight for the many on the tour. Located only eight inches apart, the panels are installed at a 5% tilt, capitalizing on almost every available square inch of the building’s usable rooftop. The roof’s white Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) helps reduce the heat island effect of downtown Denver.
The next day, it was the USGBC’s turn to host Unico at the Rocky Mountain Green summit. During the plenary, USGBC’s Ramanujam highlighted Unico’s leadership in sustainability and brought on stage Unico Senior Manager of Sustainable Real Estate Edmée Knight and Swinerton’s Senior Project Manager Adam Lulay and Assistant Project Manager Shelby Boardman for a second LEED Plaque Ceremony. Swinerton’s Lulay and Boardman were key contributors to The Circa Building’s LEED Platinum certification as the general contractors of the development.
When asked about what makes Unico’s approach to real estate different from other players in the industry, Knight said that having a sustainability team embedded with the development team from the very beginning is the key differentiator.
The Circa Building’s design also incorporates features such as low-flow toilets, sinks, and showers, resulting in a 36% reduction in water usage compared to a typical building of this size.
Additional sustainability metrics that contributed to the building’s LEED Platinum certification include:
- 53.3% energy costs savings due to the installation of state-of-the-art HVAC systems
- 29.77% of the total building materials, by value, were manufactured using recycled materials
- 29.68% of the total building materials, by value, were manufactured and extracted within 500 miles of the project site
- 97.3% of all regularly occupied spaces have a direct line of site to outdoor views
- The Circa Building opened its doors to tenants and community last year, first with Xero relocating its Americas headquarters to its spaces and then a well-attended ribbon-cutting ceremony.
- Circa is an award-winning building, don’t you know? Read the write-up of Circa’s Mayor’s Design Award for Sustainable Style win last year.
- Sustainability is core to how Unico does real estate. Read more about Unico Sustainability’s work in our detailed case studies.
- Interested in solar investments? Unico Solar Investors is a Unico subsidiary doing innovative work in the development of solar energy projects working with building owners, businesses, and municipal entities across the country to bring renewable energy to their properties.
- Love buildings? Love sustainability? Want to join a company that is committed to sustainable built environments? Check out our career page and view the multiple job openings—in our growing development and sustainability teams!