A 55-story office tower developed and managed by Houston-based real estate firm Hines has earned gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system for existing buildings. The building, encased in Spanish Rose granite, was built in 1980.

The 1.4 million sq. ft. 1100 Louisiana building in downtown Houston is 98% leased to tenants including Enterprise Products, Enbridge Midcoast Energy, Forest Oil Co., King & Spalding and Vitol Inc., among others.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the building has earned the Energy Star label six times. According to Hines, the office structure performs 40% better and saves $1.34 in energy costs per sq. ft. compared with the national average building. That results in a greenhouse gas reduction equivalent to removing approximately 2,125 passenger vehicles from the road, the company estimates.

The 1100 Louisiana tower’s green aspects demonstrate a holistic approach to managing commercial real estate that can help tenants manage costs, says Cliff Gann, senior vice president of operations at Hines. “Good design augmented by operational expertise yields a better tenant experience and lower operating expenses for tenants and owners alike.”

Green building features at the Houston tower include a reduced heat island effect, reduced use of lighting at night, and a 31.5% reduction in indoor drinking water use. The structure also uses low-mercury lamps and takes an environmentally friendly approach to cleaning. In addition, managers promote alternative transportation options for commuters to reduce air pollution.

Hines worked with Kirksey’s EcoServices group to manage administrative aspects of the LEED-certification process.

A privately owned real estate firm involved in global real estate investment, development and property management, Hines controls assets valued at $22.9 billion globally. The firm has 138 buildings representing 77 million sq. ft. that have earned the Energy Star label. In 2009, Hines received a second Energy Star sustained excellence award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its efforts on behalf of the environment.