Green Remake Gives Nebraska A LEED Landmark

In Omaha, Nebraska, the Union Pacific railroad has taken steps to green company operations at the Union Pacific Center—a 19-story, 1.3-million-square-foot building completed in 2004 and home to around 4,000 employees. The building recently received LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the largest LEED-certified building in the state and only the second building in Nebraska to qualify for certification through existing buildings branch of the program.

Building managers achieved a LEED Silver rating by implementing a combination of energy efficiency and water conservation measures, as per the LEED for Existing Buildings system. These measures include retrofitting the building for optimized HVAC and building envelope performance, resulting in a savings of 741,455 kilowatt-hours on an annual basis (reducing energy consumption overall by 3 percent). The building’s use of potable water was likewise reduced through low-flow plumbing fixtures, cutting its consumption by 550,000 gallons in 2011 as compared to 2010.

Union Pacific Center

image via Wikipedia Commons

Energy efficient lighting—in the form or reduced-mercury-content CFLs and LED lights—contributed to the building’s leaner and greener energy profile, and a combination of solid waste recycling, green cleaning products, and LEED-approved office furnishings keep day-to-day operations eco-friendly.

“Wise energy use is just as important in our office buildings as it is operating our trains,” said Jim Young, Union Pacific Chairman and CEO, in a statement. “As Union Pacific celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2012, our employees more than ever are committed to and engaged in environmental stewardship. We are proud of achieving this LEED certification.”

In addition to its LEED Silver certification, the Union Pacific Center scored a 76 under the Energy Star rating scheme for green buildings, which means that the facility operates more energy efficiently than 76 percent of similar U.S. office buildings.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.