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PHOENIX-The Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters achieved LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council. The 83,000-square-foot build-to-suit was completed late last year and is the first office building in Phoenix proper to achieve this level.

The building at 5000 W. Carefree Hwy. joins four other buildings in the state that have received the LEED Platinum designation. These are Northern Arizona University’s Applied Research and Development Facility in Flagstaff; the Lee H. Brown Conservation Learning Center in Tucson and Arizona State University’s Arizona Biodesign Institute’s Phase 2, in Tempe.

David Krumwiede, executive vice president with developer Lincoln Property Co. says the building constructed for the agency was mandated, from day one, to be environmentally friendly and to qualify for LEED certification. Being able to plan for energy savings at the very beginning helps, he adds. For example, at the site planning stage, the building can be angled so it doesn’t present a flat surface to the setting sun, which can generate a great deal of heat. Deployment of solar panels can also be determined a lot easier at the beginning than it can through a retrofit renovation.

But Krumwiede tells GlobeSt.com that building energy efficiently isn’t something new for Lincoln Property’s Phoenix office. “We were doing a lot of it inherently because of our environment in the desert,” he explains. “We’ve always used high-performance glaze and energy-efficient air conditioners.” Landscaping, he continues, consists of desert-friendly plants.

But this time, the developer had to document the facts for the USGBC. It also meant walking a fine line between being efficient and being too efficient. For example, “this was about glazing going on the windows to get relief before the sun actually hits it,” Krumwiede comments. “But then, it’s not all about energy efficiency, either.” A lot of LEED certification rests on use of natural light. As a result, “you can’t screen the buildings from the sun too much,” he adds.

With costs of building energy efficient coming down, Krumwiede says Lincoln Property will build to LEED specifications on projects going forward, and believes other developers are dong the same. “It’s certainly appropriate, especially given where we live,” he says. “I think the energy efficient process will be standard for most institutional developers.”

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