First LEED® Platinum new construction project in Des Moines, Iowa

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Corporate Office Receives LEED® Platinum Environmental Rating
Des Moines, IA – RDG Planning & Design is proud to announce that the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Corporate Office project achieved LEED® Platinum under the US Green Building Council (USGBC) new construction rating system. It is the first and only LEED Platinum project for new construction in Des Moines and at 852,000 square feet, is the only LEED Platinum for new construction certified office building of its size in the world.

This is RDGs fifth LEED Platinum certified project and its 19th LEED certified project overall. RDG Principal Davis Sanders could not be more excited to see his team reach this level of design success. “We are really thrilled to be a part of this project with Wellmark. It took more than four years to complete and it was worth every minute. Being associated with the first LEED Platinum for new construction in our home town as well as the first LEED Platinum for new construction of its size in the world is quite an honor and demonstrates our firm’s ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship.” He continues, “We would like to congratulate Wellmark along with our design and construction partners HOK, KJWW Engineering Consultants, The Weidt Group and The Weitz Company for their work on this project.”
LEED certification is based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project and the broader community. Some key performance-driven design elements incorporated into the corporate office include:
• A 160,000 gallon rainwater harvesting system and low-flow water fixtures that, in combination, provide an overall reduction in water use of 1.5 million gallons of potable (drinking) water per year.
• A comprehensive measurement and verification system that allows building operators to monitor and trend the building’s utility consumption for both electricity and water. It uses a calibrated computer simulation model to compare estimated design performance with actual building performance. The building uses 20% less energy and 50% less water than code compliant facilities.
• An under-floor air distribution system that benefits employee health and comfort. The system provides employee’s with individual control of air flow and temperature at their work stations.
• A construction waste management plan that resulted in nearly 2.5 million pounds of construction waste being diverted from the landfill.
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield estimates the building will pay for itself in less than 10 years through the combination of increased operational efficiencies, as well as ongoing process improvement initiatives stemming from the new facility.
“Building operations are nearly 40% of the solution to the global climate change challenge,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, US Green Building Council. “While climate change is a global problem, innovative companies like Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and RDG Planning & Design are addressing it through local solutions.”

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