Houston's New Green Skyscraper

Building right: Historic home of the old Houston Club is being turned into a Green skyscraper

Historic home of old Houston Club is turned into a Green skyscraper

Skanska’s Capitol Tower First in Houston rendering January 2014
Skanska's downtown Capitol Tower development, designed by Gensler, is one of only three projects in the nation to be pre-certified under the new LEED v4 standards. Courtesy rendering

In a world in which everyone claims to be Green, one Houston skyscraper is standing out.

Downtown's upcoming Capitol Tower is the first Houston development to be awarded LEED v4 Platinum pre-certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and is one of only three projects in the nation to be pre-certified under these new Green building standards.

The 750,000-square-foot Class A commercial office tower — a Skanska development designed by architectural firm Gensler — will be situated in the heart of downtown at 808 Capitol Street.

 "The design also places an extraordinary emphasis on public spaces and pedestrian experiences." 

LEED v4 is the most recent version of the LEED green building certification program, considered internationally to be the benchmark for high-performance green building design, construction and operation. The Capitol Tower project is one of just 122 projects in the world to meet the new LEED v4 standards.

"Being among the first to achieve LEED v4 Platinum pre-certification is consistent with Skanska's commitment to leadership in sustainable building practices," said Michael Mair, executive vice president of Skanska USA Commercial Development in Houston. "Our focus is to provide value for our tenants by creating built environments that are healthy, productive and resource efficient.

The building's many green features include "daylight harvesting technology that can significantly reduce energy usage," "alternative vehicle charging stations" and "a rainwater collection system for reuse in landscape irrigation and water closets," according to a press release.

"Skanska made it clear from the beginning of the design process that they wanted this to be the most sustainable building in Houston," said Gensler principal Kristopher Stuart. "We really pushed our team to move beyond anything we have done before to create a building that offers an exceptional work environment in a high-performance envelope that will dramatically reduce operating costs.

"The design also places an extraordinary emphasis on public spaces and pedestrian experiences which we believe will greatly enhance and enrich Houston's urban fabric."

The massive project is still in the development phase and CultureMap was told that interior demolition and abatement of the site is ongoing, although there is no timeline for construction at the moment.

The location of the Capitol Tower is the former home of the city's oldest social club, The Houston Club, which vacated its location at 811 Rusk early last year after teaming up with the Plaza Club and relocating to the penultimate floor of 50-story One Shell Plaza.