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Denver Animal Shelter Achieves Platinum LEED Certification

 DENVER, CO ­— Denver Public Works and Denver Environmental Health are proud to announce the designation of the Denver Animal Shelter (DAS) as Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. This prestigious designation makes DAS the first and only animal facility in the country to achieve the nationally-recognized environmental rating from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Completed in June of 2011 and funded by the citizens of Denver through the Better Denver Bond program, the shelter is the only city facility to achieve Platinum status.

“This is an amazing accomplishment that shows not only our commitment to sustainability, but also to the health and welfare of the animals at the shelter,” says Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. 

The LEED Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. LEED is a third party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

Animal Arts designed the facility, Environmental Health managed the site remediation, and Denver Public Works managed the shelter construction.

The sustainable elements that contributed to achieving the Platinum certification include:

Sustainable Site/Surroundings




  • The new shelter site was once classified as a “brownfields” due to environmental contamination from historical operations associated with mineral processing and chemical manufacturing. Thanks to extensive environmental remediation completed by IRG and Denver Environmental Health with help from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and a grant provided by the Environmental Protection Agency through the Colorado Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund, Denver Public Works has redeveloped the site to include natural elements such as native grasses.
  • The restoration included the installation of numerous elements designed to protect water quality in the South Platte River. Storm water leaving the site now passes through water quality ponds that filter the water before it travels to a detention pond that drains to the South Platte River.
  • At least 80% of the total suspended solids (dirt, trash and debris) are removed from the storm water before reaching the South Platte River.








Energy Efficiency




  • Photovoltaic-ready design allows for the addition of solar panels if desired at a later date.
  • Energy efficiency measures reduce the shelter’s energy use, saving energy-related costs including:




a.      Kennels have radiant-floor heat, which is not only energy efficient, but reduces the spread of disease.




b.      Uses natural process of evaporation to cool the air instead of the use of environmentally-damaging refrigerants.




c.       Uses daylight sensors to automatically control the lights when there is adequate daylight, reducing the need for electricity.  More than 80% of the areas have enough daylight for the electric lights to be shut off when the sun is shining.




d.      Use of non-toxic cleaning solution designed for cold water use reduces energy that would have been used for heating water.








Water Efficiency




  • Use of water efficient fixtures reduces water consumption by 45% when compared to standard practice for fixture based water uses
  • Use of native plants in landscaping conserves water by reducing irrigation by more than 45%.
  • Installed low pressure, highly efficient cleaning system that reduces water use.








Eco-Friendly Materials




  • The facility was built with a minimum of 20% recycled content.
  • At least 20% of the materials are locally derived within 500 miles, tracked from point of extraction or harvest through the manufacturing process.
  • More than 90% of the wood used in this project was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to be harvested through sustainable practices to ensure long-term health of the forests.
  • Every paint, sealant, adhesive, or coating had to meet rigorous standards to reduce exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are chemicals found in household products and paints that are known to have adverse health impacts. 
  • Plywood, millwork, and other pressed wood products used special glue that does not contain urea formaldehyde, a commonly used compound that’s harmful to occupants.