The Gold Standard

A team of experts helped the Dallas Omni Hotel achieve LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

July 10, 2012

The City of Dallas, Matthews Southwest and Omni Hotels & Resorts appointed a team of leading experts in sustainability and green buildings to create a luxury convention center hotel for Dallas, designed with innovative features and constructed in a process to meet the highest industry certification standards possible. The fine work of the entire team—from owner, developer, operator, design architect, architect of record to general contractor and all subcontractors—brought the stellar achievement for Omni Hotel Dallas to be the first and so far only LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified hotel in Texas, and the largest LEED Gold Certified NC (new construction) hotel in the United States in a Top 10 U.S. market, according to the architect, 5G Studio Collaborative.

Along with striving for a welcoming warmth and exciting energy, the 5G design of the new Omni Dallas Hotel included a strategy for LEED Silver Certification from the start. The foundation of core features would support big goals of innovation—and the possibility of an even higher level of LEED certification. This was achieved by a careful balancing of the budget of the city-owned hotel, by addressing the needs of several groups and considering the fine points of building systems and operation.

Thanks to a comprehensive strategic plan, that was in turn implemented by the entire team, the hotel has achieved LEED Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for New Construction Rating System.

Design Plan Elements
The location for the Omni Dallas Hotel is a highly sustainable one. It is located within one half-mile of two light rail stations and was a brownfield prior to pre-construction remediation. 5G Studio Collaborative then integrated a number of sustainable design strategies into the architectural design of the hotel in order to contribute meaningfully in the areas of energy conservation, water conservation, responsible material use, and occupant comfort and well-being, including:

1. Balfour/Russell/Pegasus implemented a construction waste management program during construction that managed the recycling and salvaging of more than 85 percent of the construction and demolition debris.

2. Materials and products with high recycled and regional content were carefully specified to limit the use of virgin materials and to reduce embodied energy.

3. Previously used as an open-surface asphalt parking area and parking garage, the site has been transformed into a pedestrian-friendly environment.

The General Contractor

The joint venture of Balfour Beatty Construction, H.J. Russell & Company, and Pegasus Texas Construction, LP (Balfour/Russell/Pegasus) successfully collaborated with the designers and contractors in achieving the 39 points required to secure LEED Gold certification for the Omni Dallas Hotel. Construction activities were planned with an emphasis on reducing pollution and included a recycling program that successfully diverted 89 percent of construction scrap from the landfill. The project team also maximized the use of recycled and locally obtained materials. Approximately 50 percent of the wood-based project material was certified, reclaimed product. Roof materials with favorable solar reflective indexes and covered parking reduce heat island effects. Balfour Beatty Construction, as part of the joint venture Balfour/Russell/Pegasus, led the design build team and oversaw, the design, construction, and LEED process.

  • LEED Accredited Professionals: Balfour Beatty employed 12 LEED Accredited Professionals on the project. Balfour Beatty hired the LEED certification consultant to ensure the project was built to meet the 39 credit requirements necessary to achieve LEED Gold, as set by the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • Recycling/Forest Management: Balfour Beatty mandated an aggressive recycling program for the removal of construction scrap and in turn diverted more than 89 percent of the project’s construction scrap from the landfill. The team also utilized recycled and regional materials as well as certified wood for 50 percent of the wood-based material used on the project to help encourage environmentally responsible forest management.
  • Air Quality: The Balfour Beatty indoor air quality (IAQ) management plan helped to reduce IAQ problems resulting from construction. The team used low VOC (volatile organic compound) products such as paints, adhesives, carpet systems and composite woods.
  • Construction Activity Pollution Prevention: The Balfour Beatty construction team reduced pollution from construction activities by controlling soil erosion, waterway sedimentation and dust control.


4. The heat island effect of the site was reduced by the design of the hotel, which includes a large area of open green space, site hardscape with high Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) values, and roofing materials with high SRI values.

5. The hotel parking garage includes preferred parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles, and bicycle racks are located near the main entrance.

6. An underground cistern captures recycled condensate water for use in irrigating the landscaped areas in lieu of using potable city water.

7. The northwest corner of the prop- erty features a rain garden to help minimize stormwater run-off at the site.

8. The glazing at the podium, the lower four levels of the hotel, primarily faces north and east in order to avoid afternoon solar heat gain into the building’s public spaces.

The Architects

5G Studio Collaborative, a Dallas-based architecture firm that operates internationally, served as design and lead architect on the Omni Dallas Hotel, creating the building’s distinctive design and features and including dramatic exterior LED lighting to connect with the community and energize the Dallas Convention Center district in Downtown Dallas in an innovative way.

The 5G Studio Collaborative team created the design plan for the Omni Hotel Dallas that set the sustainability standard to make the distinctive achievement of LEED Gold Certification for the Omni Dallas Hotel possible.   

5G’s plan considered and encompassed each and every feature of the new hotel to reach such high levels of sustainability from the US Green Building Council. 

From a construction waste management plan that recycled and/or salvaged more than 85 of construction and demolition debris, to limited use of virgin materials in the building, to high Solar Reflective Index (SRI) materials, to recycled condensate water systems for irrigation and a rain garden to minimize stormwater runoff, to highly efficient mechanical and lighting systems for the building, and glass and glazing to reduce energy consumption and more – the 5G Studio Collaborative plan for the Omni Dallas Hotel set a new standard for sustainability in the hospitality industry and for buildings serving large numbers of people everywhere.

BOKA Powell, a Dallas-based architecture and design firm, served as Architect of Record for the Omni Dallas Hotel, implementing the 5G Studio Collaborative plan.  

  • BOKA Powell managed the core, shell and interiors by coordinating with the design and construction teams, from the hotel’s initial conception in August 2008 until completion in the fall of 2011.
  • BOKA Powell coordinated - and at times collaborated with - Design Architect 5G Studio Collaborative and Waldrop + Nichols on their designs, and from there developed plans for the development and construction to ensure that the intent of the design was met every step of the way.
  • Additionally, BOKA Powell oversaw construction of the hotel to ensure it was in compliance with the architects’ drawings and the designers’ vision.

BOKA Powell reviewed products selected for use in the construction of the hotel to ensure they would meet LEED’s specific requirements as outlined by 5G Studio Collaborative. BOKA Powell made sure that the construction team used recyclable materials, energy efficient windows, the proper thickness of insulation, bike racks and other specifications to make the project as green as possible.

The upper 19 floors of the hotel comprise the tower, which has high performance glazing and was specified with a low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.18 in order to reduce the energy consumption that results from solar heat gain during the majority of the year in Texas.

10. The hotel’s mechanical and lighting systems were designed to be highly efficient, and an energy management system reduces energy consumption in the guestrooms through key card switches that control the lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) in the guest rooms when they are unoccupied.

11. Faucets have low-flow aerators, toilets are low-flow fixtures and the guest rooms have low-flow showerheads. The hotel’s low-flow fixtures were calculated to provide water savings of more than 30 percent compared to standard plumbing fixtures.

12. To contribute to a healthier indoor air quality, the plan also specified use of low-emitting materials.

13. A comprehensive indoor air quality management plan limited the exposure of construction workers to unhealthy contaminants, and it also reduced the presence of unhealthy contaminants post-occupancy.

14. Strategically-located glazing, which is composed of glass types that were specified for their high light to solar gain (LSG) ratios, allows building occupants to access to a high level of quality natural daylighting and outdoor views.

Credit where credit is earned

Omni Dallas Hotel Comprehensive Team:

Owner: City of Dallas

Operator: Omni Hotels & Resorts

Developer/Development Management: Matthews Southwest

Design-Builder: Balfour Beatty Construction

Design Architect & Interior Architect: 5G Studio Collaborative

Architect of Record: BOKA Powell



This story was based on text, photos and information submitted by 5G Studio Collaborative, based in Dallas.