Ten of Austin’s Greenest Developments
Austin is known as many things: Live Music Capital of the World, Bat City, Silicon Hills, and the Weirdest Town in Texas. Now add to that list Green Building Oasis. Here are 10 environmentally-friendly commercial or civic developments in Austin that practice Earth Day every day (in no particular order):
#1: Mueller Development
- LEED Certification: Silver
- Central Location
- Increases Urban Density
- 25% of All Homes for Rent and Sale Offered through Mueller Affordable Homes Program
- Embraces Fundamental Tenets of Sustainable Development and Design
- Model of Green Urbanism at Three Distinct Levels: Green Community Design, Green Buildings and Green Infrastructure.
- Encourages Resource-Efficient Design, and Selection of Regional Materials that are Non-toxic and Recycled
MUELLER DEVELOPMENT, perhaps the most visible symbol of Austin’s commitment to sustainability, is the ambitious effort to redevelop Robert Mueller Municipal Airport into a mixed-use urban village in the heart of the city. The vision was a development that promotes energy and water efficiency, resource protection, reduced auto dependency, watershed protection and green space preservation. It is envisioned as a sustainable community that is meeting extensive goals in housing and economic development.
The 700-acre site is well on its way to becoming home to approximately 13,000 people, 13,000 employees, 10,500 construction jobs, 4 million square feet of office and retail, more than 5,700 homes and 140 acres of public open space. As a model for responsible urban development— an alternative to land-consumptive and automobile-dependent development— Mueller aims to influence the form and pattern of growth within Austin.
#2: Lamar Central
- 75% of Construction and Demolition Debris Recycled
- 20% Recycled Content of Building Materials
- 20% Regionally Extracted, Harvested, Recovered, or Manufactured Materials
- 30% Reduction in Baseline Indoor Water Use
- 100% Reduction in Potable Landscape Water Use
Lamar Central, winner of the Austin Business Journal’s “2016 New Office Development of the Year” award, is situated near downtown and provides walkability to area amenities and access to various modes of transit, parks and trails. From its construction process to final features, this beautifully designed new office/retail building is bringing sustainability to the North Lamar Blvd corridor.
#3: Frontera Ridge
- LEED Certification: Targeting Silver
- Expansive Central Green for Employees to Collaborate and Relax in a Nature-Inspired Setting
- Multiple EV (Electric Vehicle) Charging Stations
- Innovative Campus will Provide a Backdrop for Working Outdoors
- Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms
- 35% Water Use Reduction
- 30% Recycled Content
- Optimized Energy Performance
- Enhanced Indoor Environmental Quality
FRONTERA RIDGE is a planned, two-building development with a central green linking the two towers. With plans to build to achieve LEED Silver certification, it is a model for sustainable development in a rapidly growing area. Energy-efficiency, recycled content, alternative transportation options, and a purposeful link to the outdoors will give its tenants’ employees an opportunity to work in a healthy indoor environment, or relax and collaborate within a natural setting.
#4: Ronald McDonald House
- LEED Certification: PLATINUM
- 63% Energy Cost Savings
- 32% Potable Water Use Reduction
- 8 kW Solar Array
THE RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE of Austin provides a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill or injured children receiving treatment at the adjacent Dell Children’s Medical Center. It incorporates energy and water conservation measures, along with indoor air quality improvement for the most comfortable and healthiest environment for its guests and employees.
#5: Frost Bank Tower
- First Downtown High-Rise to Achieve LEED EB O&M Certification
- 42% More Energy-Efficient than National Average
- 93% Use of Sustainable Cleaning Products
- 82% of Occupants Have Access to Daylight and Views
- 35% of Solid Waste Diverted from Landfills
FROST BANK TOWER was built in 2003 and was the tallest high-rise office tower at the time with 33 stories. Beyond just height, it broke barriers in terms of maximizing efficiencies and sustainability through earth-friendly measures.
#6: Austin City Hall
- LEED Certification: GOLD
- 99% Use of Recycled Reinforcing Steel
- 75% of Construction Waste Diverted from Landfill
- Carpet Made of Recycled Plastic Milk Jugs
- More than 75% of Construction waste was diverted from landfills
- 82% of Copper Used is Recycled
- 485 Gallons of Water a Day Collected from Conditioning the Inside Air, Used in Water Features
- Natural Lighting is Used as Much as Possible with Lights on Motion Sensors
- Solar Electric System
AUSTIN CITY HALL had a firm directive from its very inception: represent the spirit of the city with innovative design and enhanced sustainability. Its unique architecture reflects its natural surroundings with local limestone, rooftop gardens, copper, cascading waterfall and asymmetrical shapes— recalling Austin’s surroundings. Its LEED Gold certification is a testament to the values of sustainable growth, which is the cornerstone of the city’s envied livability.
#7: IBM Tivoli Systems Building 1
- Austin Green Building Rating: 4 stars
- 50% Construction Waste Recycled
- 27% Less Energy Use than ASHRAE Standards
- Local Materials Used for Majority of Project
- Location Encourages Alternative Transportation
- White Energy Star Roof
- HVAC Uses 27% Less Energy than ASHRAE’s Standard
IBM TIVOLI SYSTEMS BUILDING 1 is located in the city’s Smart Growth Development Zone, which ensures development fits within a responsible local and regional planning framework, and curbs urban sprawl. The development plan also preserved as much of the natural terrain and trees as possible, even restoring the native condition of the property. Invasive cedars and brush were removed, mulched, and replaced with indigenous trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses. A four-acre wet pond and retaining ponds host native plants that clean storm water runoff before it leaves the site, protecting the aquifer.
#8: LCRA Redbud Center
- LEED Certification: GOLD
- Austin Green Building Rating: 4 Stars
- Orientation and Passive Design Reduce Energy Use
- High-Performance Windows
- Motion Detectors on Lighting
- 83% Reduction of Indoor Potable Water Per Year
- Native Landscaping
- 82% of Construction Waste Recycled
- 50% of Building Supplies Manufactured in Texas
- Located on Former Brownfield, rehabilitated for Commercial Use
LCRA REDBUD CENTER provides a central location for LCRA’s emergency management, public safety, and river management operations. With this project, LCRA aimed to create an attractive, healthy, efficient, and sustainable facility. Sustainability is part of a larger concept: socially responsible design.
#9: Capital Studios
- Austin Green Building Rating: 4 stars
- 79% of Construction Waste Diverted from Landfill
- Exterior Insulation
- Low-Flow Fixtures Reduce Indoor Water Usage 44.5 Percent Beyond Code
- Innovative, Energy-Efficient Cooling System
- Solar Thermal Heating
CAPITAL STUDIOS was the first new affordable housing project built in downtown Austin in nearly half a century. It features 135 studio apartments, onsite social services and ample communal space. The innovative design met ambitious goals to foster sustainability, promote social equity, visually complement the Capitol complex’s sunset-red granite, and protect three capitol view corridors.
#10: Dell Children’s Medical Center
- Austin Green Building Rating: 5 Stars
- LEED Certification: Platinum
- Healing Garden landscaped with native plants
- Sustainable Irrigation Utilizing Reclaimed Water
- LED Lighting
- 50 kW Solar Electric System
- 300 MMBtu/Yr Solar Thermal Hot Water System
- Energy-Efficient Combined Heating and Cooling Plant
- 95% of Construction Debris Recycled
- FSC-Certified Wood
- Low VOC Paints Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants, Flooring and Composite Wood Products
- Energy Savings Are 86% Better than a Baseline Building
- 30% Less Water than a Baseline Building
DELL CHILDREN’S MEDICAL CENTER is located within the Mueller development. The project is a state-of-the-art healthcare facility dedicated to providing premium care to the children of Central Texas in an environment that promotes human and environmental health.