Three OPN projects achieve LEED certification

Three OPN projects — the Biorenewables Complex at Iowa State University, Principal’s 801 Grand, and the Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa — recently completed the LEED certification process.

The second phase — Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) — of the more than 220,000 square foot Biorenewables Complex at Iowa State University has been certified LEED Gold. The renovation and restoration of 18 floors of 801 Grand, part of Principal’s downtown Des Moines corporate headquarters, was also recently LEED certified. The Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa earned LEED Gold status as well.

The multi-phased Biorenewables project houses 50 research and teaching laboratories designed to investigate biorenewable resources: plants and crops that can be used to produce fuels, chemicals, materials, and energy. The total complex includes approximately 220,000 gross square feet of laboratories, classrooms, offices, and a central atrium. Phase I was also certified LEED Gold. ABE/BRL was designed in partnership with Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects.

801 Grand was designed by the international architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, Inc. of St. Louis. Rising 44 stories above downtown Des Moines, the building reaches 630 feet at its highest point. OPN renovated 18 of the 45 floors for Principal.

Like all of Kirkwood’s regional centers, the Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa, offers highly technical state-of-the-art labs and career academies providing high school students with access to hands-on technical programs, arts, and science classes. This facility was  designed around sustainable principles and features a large photovoltaic array, which reduces the building’s energy consumption by 25 percent.

There are four levels of LEED certification. The number of points a project earns determines the level of LEED certification that the project will receive. There are specific prerequisites projects must satisfy and a variety of credits projects can pursue to earn points. The number of points the project earns determines its level of LEED certification. Gold, the second highest certification, requires 60 to 79 points.

While we are proud of ore more than two dozen LEED certified projects completed, sustainable design is about more than a certificate. We are proud to be among the 400 firms who have pledged to achieve 100 percent carbon-neutral projects by 2030. Two years after making the commitment, we’re even more proud that 16 percent of our projects have met the target compared to the industry average of 3.9 percent.  For more about how sustainability is woven into every design decision we make at OPN, check our our Sustainability Action Plan.