The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Business and Communications Center, a 104,000 square foot building and home to Project ECHO, is the latest UNM building to go green and receive LEED Silver certification. The building, commonly referred to as “1650,” because of its location on University Blvd., recently underwent major renovations. 

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is the nation’s preeminent program for design, construction and operation of high-performance buildings across the globe. A LEED certified building saves money and resources and has a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy. To receive LEED certification, building projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.

The LEED sustainable design benchmarks of “1650” include nearly 40 percent reduction in potable water use; more than 26 percent reduction in power required for lighting systems; 24 percent in total HVAC energy cost and more. The project installed ENERGY STAR-rated equipment and appliances equal to 97 percent, by rated power, and 100 percent of new furniture systems are certified to contain low-emitting materials.

Additionally, 19 percent of the total building materials are recycled; 100 percent low-emitting adhesives, sealants, flooring systems, paints and coatings were installed, and over 20 percent of the materials were manufactured and extracted regionally, supporting local economies and reducing environmental impact from transportation.

“This was a challenging project,” said Rick Henrard, director, Planning Design & Construction, Capital Projects. “It was LEED-Commercial Interiors (CI) which is often difficult to achieve. Reuse of some original building equipment and having only portions of the building envelope replaced, lead to creative opportunities for this facility. The commitment from the architectural and engineering team along with our staff produced exceptional results.”