Colorado Health Foundation’s Office is First U.S. Project to be Awarded both WELL and LEEDv4 Certifications at the Gold Level

DENVER, CO – The Colorado Health Foundation, Davis Partnership Architects (Davis), Saunders Construction (Saunders) and WSP announced today that the Foundation’s new office building in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood has been awarded WELL Certification at the Gold level by the International WELL Building InstituteTM (IWBITM). The project has also achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The building is the first project in the U.S. to be both WELL CertifiedTM Gold and LEED v4 Gold Certified, reflecting the Foundation’s commitment to improve the health of all Coloradans, including employees and those who visit the building.

The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) is a performance-based certification system that marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based scientific research. The Foundation’s building earned the distinction based on seven categories of building performance: Air, Water, Light, Nourishment, Fitness, Comfort and Mind.

LEED, which is available for virtually all building, community and home project types, provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. WELL is designed to complement and work seamlessly with green building rating systems such as LEED, aligning health and sustainability outcomes for projects that are certified in both. 

The Foundation’s office building, completed in late 2016, was designed by Davis and constructed by Saunders, while WSP provided sustainability and health-oriented design consulting as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering throughout the project.

“The intention behind the building was to create a destination within the community that mirrors the Foundation’s practices of effecting change and increasing awareness of the importance of health,” said David Daniel, principal at Davis Partnership Architects. At the start of the project, Davis outlined several guiding principles for the project, including the intention that every person and entity involved with the project would strive to comprehensively improve the health of those who create, occupy and engage with the facility over its lifetime. With that in mind, Davis targeted both WELL Certified Gold and LEED v4 Gold certification from the inception of the project.

“Saunders Construction was honored to build this health-centered building for the Colorado Health Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to improve the health of Coloradans, especially those with less power or privilege. Saunders and all construction partners set out to make an impact with our workforce as our industry is historically one of the highest health risks and behaviors. This mission aligns so well with our Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, eight years in the making, by educating all construction professionals on healthy lifestyle tips, offering wholesome food options and rewarding healthy behaviors as we collectively walked over 44 million steps,” said Justin Cooper, vice president of project development at Saunders.

Foundation Chief Financial and Administrative Officer Rahn Porter said, “Our decision to construct a new office was driven by our desire to create a healthy, sustainable and cost-effective new home for the Foundation’s employees of today and tomorrow. We are excited to help pioneer the healthy building movement in Colorado and beyond, and hope that our efforts inspire others to integrate WELL and LEED certifications into their building projects. Most importantly, we are confident that our new building will allow our staff to relentlessly pursue our vision that across Colorado, each of us can say, ‘We have all we need to live healthy lives.’”

The Foundation’s new building incorporates the seven WELL concepts in a variety of ways: All staff desks are within 25 feet of a window, allowing for abundant natural light. A 40-foot living wall in the lobby integrates a variety of plant life while the central staircase encourages physical activity. Two quiet rooms are located away from work areas and are available for mental breaks, nursing mothers or phone calls.

LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. The Foundation’s building has an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) that is 46 percent better than a baseline office building. This was achieved by combining passive design approaches (daylighting, massing and operable windows) with an efficient HVAC system, LED lighting and Energy Star appliances. The building is also prepped for future installation of solar panels.

All photos credited to Frank Ooms.

If you are a member of the media and would like a tour, please contact Taryn Fort.

About Davis Partnership Architects
Founded in 1892, Denver-based Davis Partnership Architects is one of the largest, most prominent architecture, landscape architecture, planning and interior design firms in the Rocky Mountain West. With a staff of 170 architects, landscape architects, interior designers, lighting designers and wayfinding specialists, the firm offers clients a diverse range of architectural and design services. Davis Partnership is committed to delivering unparalleled client service, thoughtful, contextual design and a honed focus on wellness and sustainable design that is intrinsic to every project regardless of budget. For more information please visit:

About Saunders Construction
Saunders serves the commercial building industry as a full-service general contractor, design-builder and construction manager.  A leader in the Colorado construction industry since its inception in 1972, Saunders’ experience includes a wide range of project types. Saunders is one of the region’s largest general contractors and is the recipient of more than 100 industry awards for its construction excellence, employee achievements and community contributions. In addition, Saunders is a member of the Citadel Group – an alliance of seven regional construction-related companies with operations in 19 cities. For additional information, please visit

About WSP
WSP is a global engineering and professional services firm providing creative, comprehensive, and sustainable engineering solutions in the built and natural environment. This involves designing, engineering, and managing buildings, transportation & infrastructure, and water and environment projects. Our unique combination of specialist skills and global delivery enables us to offer the latest thinking to our clients, wherever they need it. We are technical experts and strategic advisors including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. For more information, visit

International WELL Building Institute™, IWBI™ and the related logo are trademarks used with permission from the International WELL Building Institute.

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