Architects and builders across the U.S. have been realizing the benefits of using sustainable building techniques, both for their bottom line and for the prestige of their buildings. For example, the Omni Dallas Hotel recently announced that its commitment to green design and energy efficiency has paid off when the facility was awarded LEED Gold New Construction (NC) certification.
LEED green building certification system, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, is a preeminent guide for the design, construction and operation of environmentally friendly buildings. In order to qualify, buildings have to demonstrate efficient use of energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, which saves money for owners, occupants and taxpayers, and the environment for all.
The new hotel’s designers and builders were able to achieve this by implementing a plan that relied on the use of recycled and regionally-sourced materials, and they utilized a construction process that minimized pollution and water usage.
Some of the sustainable methods and materials used during the construction of Omni Dallas include:
• Reclaimed timber and brick for the interior of the hotel’s restaurant, Texas Spice
• Certified wood to encourage environmentally responsible forest management
• A 25,000-gallon cistern to capture water for irrigation
• A rain garden designed to reduce the amount of storm water run-off
• A water softener system tied to the cooling tower to reduce water and chemical usage
• Roof materials with solar reflective indexes to help with heat island effects
• Guest rooms equipped with a key switching system for lighting and HVAC control
Originally, the project was mandated by the City of Dallas to achieve LEED Silver status, but the end result exceeded expectations. Dallas Mayor Michael S. Rawlings congratulated the entire team for its superior performance. He was also keen to stress the economic benefits of building environmentally friendly commercial spaces, saying that “we promised to create a hotel that added to downtown development and brought in more convention business all in a sustainable manner.”
His comments reflect the growing awareness among Americans – both inside and outside of the construction industry – of the importance of eco-friendly solutions that lessen the impact of everyday human activities. In fact, few cities in the U.S. are in need of improved environmental conditions than Dallas, which does not meet the federal guidelines for acceptable levels of ozone, according to North Central Texas Council of Government.
The organization stated that vehicle traffic, electricity generating utilities and construction equipment are major sources of ozone-causing emissions.