The City of Dallas, Matthews Southwest and Omni Hotels & Resorts appointed a team of leading experts in sustainability and green buildings to create a luxury convention center hotel for Dallas, designed with innovative features and constructed in a process to meet the highest industry certification standards possible. The fine work of the entire team – from owner, developer, operator, design architect, architect of record to general contractor and all subcontractors – brought the stellar achievement for Omni Hotel Dallas to be the first and only LEED Gold Certified hotel in Texas, and the largest LEED Gold Certified NC (new construction) hotel in the United States.
Design and Lead Architect: 5G Studio Collaborative
Along with defining a welcoming warmth and exciting energy, the 5G design of the new Omni Dallas Hotel included a strategy for LEED Silver Certification from the start, with a foundation of core features that would support big goals of innovation – and the possibility of an even higher level of LEED certification. This was achieved by a careful balancing of the budget of the City-owned hotel and addressing of big group needs and the fine points of building systems and operation.
Thanks to a comprehensive strategic plan, that was in turn implemented by the entire team, the hotel has achieved LEED Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for New Construction Rating System.
Following is a summary of the design plan elements that contributed to the achievement.
First, the Omni Dallas Hotel started from a strong position of sustainability. The location for the Omni Dallas Hotel is a highly sustainable one. It is located within half a mile of two light rail stations and was a brownfield previous to pre-construction remediation.
5G Studio Collaborative then integrated a number of sustainable design strategies into the architectural design of the hotel in order to contribute meaningfully in the areas of energy conservation, water conservation, responsible material use, and occupant comfort and well-being:
- Previously used as an open-surface asphalt parking area and parking garage, the site has been transformed into a pedestrian-friendly environment.
- The heat island effect of the site was significantly reduced by the construction of the hotel development, which includes a large area of open green space, site hardscape with high Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) values, and roofing materials with high SRI values.
- The hotel parking garage includes preferred parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles, and bicycle racks are located near the main entrance.
- An underground cistern captures recycled condensate water for use in irrigating the landscaped areas in lieu of using potable city water.
- The northwest corner of the property features a rain garden, which minimizes stormwater run-off from the site.
- The glazing at the podium, the lower four levels of the hotel, primarily faces north and east in order to avoid afternoon solar heat gain into the building’s public spaces.
- The upper 19 floors of the hotel comprise the tower, which has high performance glazing and was specified with a low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.18 in order to reduce the energy consumption which results from solar heat gain during the majority of the year in Texas.
- The hotel’s mechanical and lighting systems were designed to be highly efficient, and an energy management system reduces energy consumption in the guestrooms through key card switches that control the lighting and HVAC in the guest rooms when they are unoccupied.
- All faucets have low-flow aerators, all toilets are low-flow fixtures and the guest rooms have low-flow showerheads. The hotel’s low-flow fixtures were calculated to provide water savings of over 30% as compared to a baseline of standard plumbing fixtures.
- Balfour/Russell/Pegasus implemented a construction waste management program during construction which managed the recycling and salvaging of over 75% of the construction and demolition debris.
- Materials and products with high recycled and regional content were carefully specified to limit the use of virgin materials and for reduced embodied energy.
- In order to contribute to a healthier indoor air quality, the plan also specified use of low-emitting materials.
- A comprehensive indoor air quality management plan limited the exposure of construction workers to unhealthy contaminants during construction, and it reduced the presence of unhealthy contaminants post-occupancy.
- Strategically-located glazing, which is composed of glass types that were specified for their high light to solar gain (LSG) ratios, allows building occupants to enjoy high levels of quality natural daylighting and outdoor views.
Architect of Record: BOKA Powell
BOKA Powell, Dallas-based architecture and design firm, served as Architect of Record for the Omni Dallas Hotel.
- BOKA Powell managed the core, shell and interiors by coordinating with the design and construction teams, from the hotel’s initial conception in August 2008 until completion in the fall of 2011.
- BOKA Powell coordinated – and at times collaborated – with Design Architect 5G Studio Collaborative and Waldrop + Nichols on their designs, and from there, developed plans for the development and construction to ensure that the intent of the design was met every step of the way.
- Additionally, BOKA Powell oversaw construction of the hotel to ensure it was in compliance with the architects’ drawings and the designers’ vision.
BOKA Powell’s Role on LEED Gold Certification: Specifically, BOKA Powell reviewed products selected for use in the construction of the hotel to ensure they would meet LEED’s specific requirements as outlined by 5G Studio Collaborative.
For example, BOKA Powell made sure that the construction team used recyclable materials, energy efficient windows, the proper thickness of insulation, bike racks and other specifications to make the project as green as possible.
General Contractor: Balfour Beatty Construction
The joint venture of Balfour Beatty Construction, H.J. Russell & Company, and Pegasus Texas Construction, LP (Balfour/Russell/Pegasus) successfully collaborated with the designers and contractors in achieving all 39 points required to secure LEED Gold certification for the Omni Dallas Hotel. Construction activities were planned with an emphasis on reducing pollution and included a recycling program that successfully diverted 89% of the construction waste from the landfill. The project team also maximized the use of recycled and locally obtained materials. Approximately 50% of the wood-based project material was certified, reclaimed product. Roof materials with favorable solar reflective indexes and covered parking reduce heat island effects. Balfour Beatty Construction, as part of the joint venture Balfour/Russell/Pegasus, led the design build team and oversaw, the design, construction, and LEED process.
- LEED Accredited Professionals: Balfour Beatty employed 12 LEED Accredited Professionals on the project, ranging from the design-build staff to various engineers and consultants. Balfour Beatty hired the LEED certification consultant to ensure the project was built to meet the 39 credit requirements necessary to achieve LEED Gold, as set by the US Green Building Council.
- Recycling/Forest Management: Balfour Beatty mandated an aggressive recycling program for the removal of construction waste and in turn diverted over 89% of the projects construction waste from the landfill. The team also utilized recycled and regional materials as well as certified wood for 50 percent of the wood-based material used on the project to help encourage environmentally responsible forest management.
- Air Quality: The Balfour Beatty in-door air quality management plan helped to reduce IAQ problems resulting from construction. The team used low VOC products such as paints, adhesives, carpet systems, and composite woods.
- Construction Activity Pollution Prevention: The Balfour Beatty construction team reduced pollution from construction activities by controlling soil erosion, water way sedimentation and dust control.
+ Project facts
Omni Dallas Hotel
Dallas, TX, USA
Owner: City of Dallas
Operator: Omni Hotels & Resorts
Developer/Development Management: Matthews Southwest
Design-Builder: Balfour Beatty Construction
Design Architect & Interior Architect: 5G Studio Collaborative
Architect of Record: BOKA Powell
Landscape Architect: TBG
Interior Design: Waldrop+Nichols
Lighting: Lang Lighting
Sustainability Strategy: 5G Studio Collaborative
Civil Engineer: URS Corporation
Structural Engineer: Brockette Davis Drake
MEP: Blum Consulting Engineers
Food Service: Worrell Design Group
Acoustic/AV/Security: Shen Milsom Wilke
Information Technology: Applied Tech Group
Specification & Accessibility: Inspec, Doug Hartman
Waterproofing: Curtainwall Design Consulting
LEED Certification Service: BVM Engineering