Green Building Award, LEED Platinum Certification

On April 22, 2014, the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) and Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) Building received an American Institute of Architects COTE Top Ten Plus Award. The building was selected for exceeding its already exemplary performance expectations for energy efficient design, innovation, community integration, land use, material use and construction, lifespan capabilities, feedback mechanisms, and responses to light, air, energy, and water concerns and use. When this award was received, the Des Moines office of Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell Architects (BNIM Architects) reported that the building’s net energy consumption was surpassing energy savings of 81 percent compared to the national office building average and its rooftop solar panels were providing about 25 percent of the building’s power needs.

This building project was previously honored with the Top Ten Green Building Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment, the AIA Central States Region Merit Award, AIA Iowa Merit Award, AIA Kansas Merit Award, and the AIA Kansas City Merit Award. In addition, BNIM Architects, the IUB, and the OCA were named the commercial winner of the Built Environment Award as part of the Environmental Impact Awards of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Center on Sustainable Communities, and Metro Waste Authority. The awards honor local organizations and leaders for their sustainability efforts in the Greater Des Moines area.

On March 5, 2013, the IUB and OCA held a LEED® Platinum recognition ceremony in the building’s first-floor lobby. The formal program included remarks from Rod Kruse of BNIM Architects and Scott Bowman of the U.S. Green Building Council (Iowa Chapter) and KJWW Engineering Consultants.

The U.S. Green Building Council established, and the Green Building Certification Institute verified, that the building met the highest international standard for leadership, innovation, energy performance, and environmental stewardship. The building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance in areas of energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Located at 1375 E. Court Ave. in Des Moines, Iowa, the IUC-OCA building (renamed in 2024 to reflect the IUC's name change) houses more than 85 employees in two agencies. The facility was modeled to consume 63 percent less energy than a typical office building of similar size that is compliant with the Iowa Energy Code and an onsite photovoltaic renewable energy source was designed to contribute about 12.5 of the building’s total energy use. 

The building features a long list of energy efficiency measures highlighted by a geothermal heating and cooling system, which provides the largest energy savings, as well as super-efficient precast concrete wall panels with integrated edge-to-edge rigid insulation, daylight harvesting solar screens and two long building wings in a V-shaped design for maximum use of daylight. 

Building LEED Certification Award

Other systems include an energy management system that includes lighting and occupancy sensors throughout the building and special plug outlet controls in employee work spaces, a water management system that reduces water use by about 46 percent, and operable windows for use on temperate days. 

In addition, on-site groundwater filtering and containment mechanisms responsibly manage six acres of storm water as well as an equally sized off-site area, and LED lighting technology illuminates the courtyard entrance and walkways. 

BNIM Architects was the lead designer of the building. General contractor for the building was J.P. Cullen and Sons of Janesville, Wis.

The new building, dedicated on April 28, 2011, replaced leased space formerly occupied by the two agencies. By state law they are to be co-located. The building is not being paid for with general fund money but is being financed through public bonds. Twenty-year bonds financed the construction of the new building and the bonds are being retired with funds that had gone to monthly lease payments by the agencies.

Arrange a tour

Designed to be a teaching model for the public, the IUC and OCA provide tours of the building during normal business hours. Previous tours include utility companies, utility industry groups, colleges and universities, and other interested organizations.

To schedule a tour, call Teri Clevenger at 515-725-7313.

Additional information

National Top Ten Green Building Plus Award news release  
LEED® Platinum Certification news release
BNIM Technical Specifications worksheet
LEED Platinum Designation (USGBC)
Take a Virtual Building Tour