Local architectural company gets LEED ‘gold' certified

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A long-time Salt Lake City architectural firm, needing more space and an updated look, recently completed a major remodel -- but it wasn't just new coat of paint and new carpet.

Using careful planning and attention to being environmentally friendly long into the future, MHTN Architects Inc. has now received national recognition.

It cost approximately $47,000 above normal constructions costs for MHTN to achieve LEED Gold Certification. However, the savings from "going green" are estimated to be about $43,000 annually.

MHTN decided from the beginning that it wanted to set an example of sustainable design. That is, a facility that's environmentally friendly from floor to ceiling.

"We decided that if we're going to do this, we need to do it right, and we need to do some of the things that we tell our clients that they should be doing," said Bryce Jones, president and CEO of MHTN Architects Inc.

MHTN has been around since 1923 and has designed everything from schools to large office projects. Now the company has achieved LEED "Gold" Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council -- LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

The council issues these citations after verifying that a building has met a long list of criteria, including energy and water savings, emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and reduced waste sent to landfills. MHTN did that.

**Energy efficient workplace**
- 100% workstations with view - 100% underground parking - 85% construction waste recycled - 55% reduction in water use - 40% re-used building components - 40% electricity saved - 38% pre-used furniture - 20% recycled content - 5% + rapidly renewable content
"As we did that, we were careful to save existing materials that were of value," Jones explained. "We wanted to save carpet that we could reuse; we wanted to save ceiling tiles that we could reuse." Most of what couldn't be reused was recycled. Some of the things you'll find in the new space:

  • The countertop in the reception area is made of recycled glass
  • Old doors were used to make cabinets
  • Reflective ceiling tiles help enhance lighting in the employee workspaces

In addition, project manager Chad Nielsen said all of the spaces have motion-sensor lighting.

"[It] can identify if there's an occupant in the space and turn the lights on," Nielsen said. When they leave, the lights turn off.

By being more "green," MHTN is also saving some green.

"We spent additional dollars to take it up to the LEED standards, but we're seeing payback, annually, of $40,000 a year," said MHTN Vice President Kyle Taft.

"We have clients come in and look at our space and want to do similar things in their own offices," Jones said.

All of the employees have a view to the outdoors, so no one is in a dark corner or windowless office. All the water fixtures are low-flow, and the wood accents on the walls and ceilings are bamboo -- a wood that is rapidly renewable.

Many of these ideas can easily be used in a home remodel too.

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com

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Keith McCord


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