Chandler Airport Commerce Center: First Green Globes-Certified Building in Arizona

Arizona’s first Green Globes-certified building is an industrial airport warehouse facility in Chandler.

The Chandler Airport Commerce Center in Chandler, Arizona is an office and warehouse building that just became the first in the Copper State to earn any level of Green Globes certification from the Portland, Oregon-based non-profit Green Building Initiative (“GBI”). Located just outside of Tempe, the Center features a modest 27,000 square feet of warehouse space and 3,000 square feet of office suite space; specific details on its actual rating level (i.e., 1, 2, 3, or 4 Green Globes, essentially the same scale as LEED Certified through Platinum) don’t appear available. According to Michael O’Connor, senior VP of Wisconsin-based developer Irgens, “[t]he building is relatively small, and going for LEED certification didn’t make sense financially.” He estimated a cost of “$75,000 to $100,000 . . . to administer the LEED process, and for a 30,000-square-foot light industrial building, that’s too burdensome.” Irgens has a number of LEED-certified projects throughout the Midwest, but the Chandler Center was its first to seek a rating under Green Globes.

The project team, which included architect Nagaki Design Associates, incorporated sustainable site design, indoor air quality measures, an integrated design process, environmental purchasing, and a commissioning plan. Under Green Globes, Nagaki was responsible for using the program (which is based on-line) to assess and rate the building. Subsequently, a GBI-authorized third-party expert reviewed the building’s construction documents and performed a field inspection to verify the rating. For the Center, this work was done by Harvey Bryan, an Arizona State University architecture professor; the project received the same rating from both Nagaki and Bryan. It’s important to note that this third-party field verification is a major difference between Green Globes and LEED. Bryan also noted that “[s]ome people have been saying that Green Globes is LEED light, or something less rigorous than LEED. . . . That is not at all the case.”

The GBI has been in the news a bit more frequently of late, though we’re still waiting for a local project to come across our radar. As you may recall, New Jersey recently opened up its green building mandate to Green Globes (after already requiring LEED) for public projects greater than 15,000 square feet. gbNYC has frequently observed that competition among rating systems is positive for green building generally, and an increase in Green Globes-certified projects will unquestionably push both USGBC and GBI to refine and update their respective assessment tools.

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