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What Life is Like Working in a Green Building?

2010 February 5

image of greenery with cityscape in the backgroundWhile this photo may appear to be that of a lush meadow in the foreground of a big city, it is actually a vegetated rooftop on a 9-story building in downtown Denver. When EPA Region 8’s office moved to a new “green” office building in Lower Downtown Denver, I did not know what to expect. I had never worked in a green building before. I really did not think it would be that different from a regular building. Was I wrong… Not only was the building very beautiful, it was the most comfortable building I have ever been in. From the lighting to the indoor air quality, I knew we were in a top quality and healthy working environment.

Our building is environmentally friendly and provides daily opportunities for us to practice stewardship. Some features of our building that help us decrease our impact include:

  • Extensive use of daylight to reduce need for artificial light
  • A vegetated green roof to control storm water and decrease urban heat island effect
  • Waterless urinals and low-flow plumbing fixtures to decrease water use
  • High recycled content materials throughout the building
  • Proximity to public transit

However, it is not enough to simply build a green building; a big part of the equation is how the building is operated and the behavior of the occupants. Region 8′s Environmental Management System helps us improve our performance by quantifying and managing the impacts of our operations (e.g., electricity and water use, waste generation and transportation) and taking actions to reduce those impacts.

The green design, construction, operation and maintenance of 1595 Wynkoop, combined with close attention to our collective actions, help EPA in our efforts to practice what we preach.

Working in a green building is the only way to work in my mind. I have more energy throughout the day which I attribute to the environmentally healthy aspects of our building. I have the pleasure of knowing my work day has also been less of an impact to the environment. You can find out more, hear an audio tour and see lots of pictures of our green building at: http://www.epa.gov/region8/building/index.html

About the author: Wendy Dew has been with EPA for 11 years and is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

21 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    February 5, 2010

    Sister Wendy,
    I am skeptic our building here like your green building for hundreds years later. I cry to see our its, because many different between specification technique and real condition. It’s OK almost all its be tendered, but please look reality conditional that building. More than one cars jumped to basement by parking accident. That is one case.
    Simplicity, if you prepare the money one hundred percent, maybe the contractor will be need just a half, here.
    Congratulation for your green building and I feel your product more than before.

  2. Jackenson Durand permalink
    February 5, 2010

    That is making me think about others cities in others Countries would do a plagiary from this same example Architectural.

  3. omid permalink
    February 6, 2010

    Life is Like Working plase. (pershian language)(farsi)

  4. Al Bannet permalink
    February 6, 2010

    Wendy Dew,

    What percentage of your building’s daily trash is safely recycled into useful products?

  5. Al Bannet permalink
    February 8, 2010

    Wendy Dew,

    I have to admit I am surprised. The new EPA office building is a big step in the right direction; and I was surprised to read you say that 32% recycled trash was good but not yet enough. Extraordinary.
    I have no critical comment to make. Congratulations!

  6. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    February 10, 2010

    The EPA Denver Building is a good example of how all buildings should be built. It is a quantom leap in building construction. The only other building i know of with a green roof like yours is the administration building of our county landfill which also gets all of its electric power from landfill methane gas and uses low flow plumbing and recycled water. This is great. The Denver EPA Building is the biggest and most important one to have the environmental protections incorporated into its construction. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  7. Christian louboutin sale permalink
    February 18, 2010

    What a great blog! It’s a pity that i can’t find your rrs address. If you can offer rrs subscription service, i can track your blog easier!

  8. excelent experience permalink
    April 3, 2010

    congratulations

  9. websitebuilder permalink
    April 14, 2010

    Sadly, I couldn’t relate to this discussion as I only work at home. But from reading here, it’s good to know that companies are now considering green architecture for their buildings.

    Amy Cameron

  10. solar power kits permalink
    August 20, 2010

    he EPA Denver Building is a good example of how all buildings should be built. It is a quantom leap in building construction. The only other building i know of with a green roof like yours is the administration building of our county landfill which also gets all of its electric power from landfill methane gas and uses low flow plumbing and recycled water.

  11. Kevin Megan permalink
    September 20, 2010

    I saw this model at Japan too

  12. Green Roofing permalink
    October 6, 2010

    I am a fan of Green roofing technology. Great to see you guys helping to promote and inform about it.Yes, it is true green roofing technology increasingly very rapidly. It provides clean environment, better storm water management, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and developing more usable green spaces in communities.

  13. Green Light permalink
    October 26, 2010

    Thanks for posting these greener options! this made me want to refurbish my home and make it more eco-friendly, starting with my pendant light!

  14. Tot Belkman permalink
    December 5, 2010

    i know of with a green roof like yours is the administration building of our county landfill which also gets all of its electric power from landfill methane gas and uses low flow plumbing and recycled water.

  15. yanny permalink
    May 18, 2011

    nice post! i love reading things like this. i love the idea of green roof.

  16. audio video service permalink
    June 9, 2011

    Nice post i like it so much. I feel so impress after reading this. Thanks for sharing.

  17. build on your own lot permalink
    June 17, 2011

    As a home builder, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate green building, into our customers homes. While this story applies to commercial building, I think there is some carry-over here for the residential side as well. Great post. I hope our city of Richmond, VA incorporates more of these green building techniques as it grows and restores older buildings.

  18. bobhomeperf@yahoo.com permalink
    January 26, 2012

    Must be nice. I was in a LEED Platinum building recently with an exposed concrete floor for a one day conference and it was quite uncomfortable.

  19. June 8, 2012

    The EPA Denver Building is a good example of how all buildings should be built. It is a quantom leap in building construction. The only other building i know of with a green roof like yours is the administration building of our county landfill which also gets all of its electric power from landfill methane gas and uses.

  20. July 3, 2012

    All farm lands are converted to buildings and planted some plants in and around buildings and saying its green building.is this what the green?

  21. Huntington Toyota permalink
    August 29, 2012

    That picture is really something. I used to live in California and when I visited Sacramento and saw so many solar panels in front of buildings, it was really a site to see. I love when companies work to go green.

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