Downtown Has A Green Skyscraper

There's something new in Downtown -- a building that can officially be called "green."

The 33-story tower at 717 Texas (you know, the block with the Longhorn Cafe) has won LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

It received a Silver Certificate for existing buildings for doing such things as having a "green and reflective roof on the parking garage," purified-water systems so tenants don't use so many of those damn plastic bottles, low-flow restroom fixtures and recycling.

It's owned by the giant Hines real-estate firm, and senior V-P John Mooz tells Hair Balls that even though the building was designed in 2000, before much of the current technology was available, it proved amenable to the firm's greening efforts.

"When we designed 717 Texas in 2000, we incorporated some of the most sustainable technologies available to commercial office buildings at the time, Mooz says. "That was years before the now-current drive toward sustainable design. That strategy seems to have meshed well with the subsequent trend toward LEED-rated buildings."

The main tenant at 717 Texas is Calpine, a power company that is using less of its product because of all this. It's ironic, or something.

Us, we're always leery of low-flow restrooms in big public buildings, but we suppose sacrifices must be made.

-- Richard Connelly

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