Going green for Dallas-based Turner Construction Co. goes beyond just lip service as the firm has 1,186 LEED Accredited Professionals on staff, - making up more than 20% of its total staff. In Texas, the firm employs more than 59 LEED APs, 19 Green Advantage professionals and has provided construction services for more than 25 green projects.

The company had $3 billion of green construction volume in 2008.

“But in addition to having green professionals and building green buildings, we are committed to incorporating green practices throughout our three Texas offices,” Sam Latona, LEED-AP, preconstruction manager for Turner-Texas tells Texas Construction. “Company-wide green initiatives include the ‘LEEDing by Example’ employee program, which encourages employees to become LEED-accredited. Those that become LEED-APs are entered into a lottery to use a new Toyota Prius hybrid for three years.

Other initiatives include utilizing Turner’s online Construction Waste Recycling Reporting system, utilizing Building Information Modeling, renovating offices to meet LEED standards, purchasing green office supplies and providing green training.

“About nine years ago, firm leaders set the goal of changing the way we construct buildings,” Latona says. “LEED was the process that seemed to be emerging as the standard and we looked forward training as many people through its system as we could.”

Almost all new projects in the DFW area require some kind of LEED, he says, and the firms that don’t have the expertise won’t be considered for the jobs.

Turner is building a $1.2-million Plano Environmental Education Center, which broke ground in September and is slated for a March completion. Dallas-based GGO Architects is the project architect. The project will seek a LEED-platinum certification. If awarded, it will be the first platinum building in Plano.

“The project is one that the city wants to use as a teaching tool about what living green and building green is all about,” Latona says. “They have a lot of the newer ways to save energy and water.”

Turner is working on is the three-story, 120,000-sq-ft Science and Academic Building at Tarrant County College District’s Southeast Campus in Arlington. Aiming for LEED-gold certification, the facility – slated for a late 2010 opening – will serve as a model for interdisciplinary facilities through its approach to planning, site and the environment. Plano-based SHW Group is the project architect.

“We’re taking more of a leadership position than most contractors do,” Latona says. “The city of Dallas has a committee set up to rewrite all of the codes for green construction, and I was a member of that committee. Several people in our different offices are board members on the USGBC and I teach LEED classes at Texas Tech and Texas A&M.”

Turner’s LEED APs have helped the firm to complete 85 projects that have been LEED certified. An additional 131 Turner projects are LEED registered. The firm’s sustainable construction work has grown to 40% of its backlog. Turner’s green building projects span a wide array of types, including education, commercial, health care and aviation.