Discovery Tower, a 900,000 sf office tower in Houston, will be a model of energy performance and the first high performance speculative downtown office building of its caliber in the city. Building owner Trammell Crow sees energy optimization as an important selling point in an energy market that has seen increasing electricity costs and a desire to reduce the building’s environmental footprint.
Both Trammell Crow and Gensler have extensive experience using EPA’s Target Finder tool to set energy targets and rate the estimated energy use of building designs. Discovery Tower achieved Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR, demonstrating stewardship of community and investor resources.
The building design uses a variety of elements to help meet energy performance goals, including a high efficiency on-site central plant, an energy recovery wheel, condenser water heat recovery, variable speed series fan-powered terminal units with ECM motors, a green roof over the entrance pavilion, a cool roof on the tower, renewable energy harvesting wind turbines, south-facing solar shading fins, daylighting strategies, low-E window glazing, and a high performance glass curtainwall. Each tenant will be encouraged to have energy-efficient appliances and to optimize their own space’s energy use.
Upon design completion, the team entered data for Discovery Tower into Target Finder to obtain the project’s estimated design rating and associated greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs. Discovery Tower achieved a rating of 99 (out of a possible 100). Gensler’s overall design philosophy for Discovery Tower complements the City of Houston’s own aggressive goals for energy performance. Located adjacent to Houston’s new 12-acre Discovery Green Park, the building compliments and extends the Park’s sustainable design elements.
Architect of Record:
WYLIE Consulting Engineers
Trammell Crow Company
Design Rating / % Energy and CO₂ Reduction*:
99 / 66%
Design / Completion Date:
2008 / 2010
Estimated Energy Use
Estimated Total Annual
Estimated Annual Energy Cost:
Energy-efficient on site central plant, air handling units, energy recovery wheel, green and cool roofs, renewable energy harvesting wind turbines, south-facing solar shading fins, daylighting strategies, low E window glazing, and high performance glass curtainwall with architecturally finished precast concrete.
For More Information:
Hal B. Sharp, AIA
*Percent Energy and CO₂ Reductions are compared with an average building of similar type.