Go GREEN-State Capitol LEED Gold Certified
Congratulations to the entire Capitol Complex crew for earning the LEED Gold certification for the Colorado State Capitol. This is the third time that the Colorado State Capitol has been honored with this impressive achievement. LEED certification identifies the Colorado State Capitol as a showcase example of sustainability and demonstrates leadership in transforming the building industry.
LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly-efficient, and cost-saving green buildings and designed using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
As mentioned above, there are specific factors that go into becoming a LEED certified building and the Colorado State Capitol has been following these for a number of years now. One factor that lead to the LEED Gold certification involved the Capitol's air quality. On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, an air test was conducted that followed guidance provided in the LEED Dynamic Plaque User Manual and with further clarification provided by the USGBC and GBCI (Green Business Certification Inc.). The air test resulted in a pass certification. To see the full air test report, click here.
Another factor involved a waste audit that was conducted on June 14, 2018 at the Colorado State Capitol that included a days’ worth of all building trash and recycled materials, not just a sample. A waste audit manager was on-site to insure proper separation of the materials along with Capitol Complex janitorial staff.
Below are items that were reported through The State of Recycling in Colorado 2018 report produced by Eco-Cycle and CoPIRG:
The waste audit for each stream was physically separated, then the weight method in pounds (lbs.) was used as the unit of measurement.
- Mixed plastics
- Paper & shredded paper
- Bio/compostable waste
- Other waste/garbage (non-compostable or non-recyclable waste)
Overall Audit Decree by Weight
The current diversion rate from the landfill is 36.21% (58.2 pounds diverted out of 160.75 pounds of total material). Perfect diversion would allow for 78.62% of material to be diverted from the landfill.
For the Colorado State Capitol, mixed paper (52.6 pounds or 32.72%), bio/compost (46.05 pounds or 28.65%) and garbage/other waste (43.9 pounds or 27.31%) represent the largest categories of waste generated at the building. A total of 88.68% of the total weight comes from these three categories. Having mixed paper as the largest stream is slightly unusual as it is typically compost or garbage.
Positive findings include that 95.06% of mixed paper, 61.73% of corrugated cardboard, 50.0% of aluminum and 50.0% of glass is being diverted from the landfill.
Only 23.19% of plastics were properly diverted -- all plastic containers #1-7 can be recycled, not just plastic bottles (i.e. yogurt containers, take-out containers, and microwave trays).
Audit findings recommend employees having both trash and recycle bins at their workstations for their use and encouraging employees to print less, if possible, as mixed paper was the largest overall stream found at the building.
Auditors noted that many garbage items were comprised of Styrofoam food cartons, plastic straws/stir sticks, Coffee Mate creamers, disposable coffee pods, hot and cold beverage cups that are lined, chip bags, candy wrappers, lined disposable plates/bowls, disposable silverware, and thin plastics (i.e. grocery bags and sandwich bags).
- Paper: Mixed office paper, envelopes, post-it notes
- Paperboard: Packaging boxes, tissue boxes, food boxes, brown paper bags
- Metals: Aluminum cans
- Glass: Glass bottle
- Plastics: Water bottles, beverage bottles, yogurt containers, food containers, microwave food trays
- Straws, plastic silverware, lined hot and cold beverage cups, aluminum foil and thin plastics for food (e.g. cracker packaging), sugar packets
- Napkins, tissues, paper towels, compostable silverware
Food, paper towels, tissues, napkins, plants, coffee grounds
In the end, there are still steps that everyone can take to make state offices greener. It starts with being more educated and aware of what you use and where to dispose of it. With everyone pitching in, Capitol Complex can continue to keep the Colorado State Capitol LEED certified and move other state facilities forward.
The Division of Capitol Assets Director, Richard Lee, would like to express his gratitude not only to Capitol Complex staff but to the State Capitols Legislative branch for their participation in this certification process. This is a remarkable achievement for the Colorado State Capitol and could not happen without everyone's commitment to Greening State Government.