Sustainability is a Priority on the Capitol Complex Phase II Project

When the Capitol Complex Phase II Project is complete, two new State office buildings and the fourth block of the Texas Capitol Mall will stand north of the Texas State Capitol. These new additions will help fulfill the overall Capitol Complex Project mandate to consolidate all state agencies within the Capitol Complex, creating the potential to maximize operational efficiencies between and within the agencies, offering visitors easier access to agency offices, and eliminating the cost of leased space for these offices.

This visionary undertaking will also fulfill State of Texas policies for environmental quality and energy efficiency to create sustainable spaces that protect public health and natural resources. Every aspect of planning and executing the Phase II project includes sustainable goals for building performance, occupant health and wellbeing, and resilience that will promote public health and protect natural resources.

Sustainability During Construction

JR RAMON separates construction waste during demolition.

As the three sites of Phase II (1501 Lavaca, 1500 Congress, and the fourth block of the Texas Capitol Mall) are prepared for excavation and construction, sustainability practices are well underway. The project has a target to divert 75% of construction waste from the landfill. Dedicated areas have been established on site for the collection and sorting of construction materials for recycling. Materials from existing buildings removed from the site are already being turned into new building products. Learn more about this from JR RAMON, our Phase II demolition expert, in the Team Spotlight section of this newsletter.

During project planning, a study of the existing trees on site was conducted with specific trees identified for preservation and project incorporation. A special focus was placed on the trees located around the Texas Historical Commission north of the site. Care and management plans have been put in place to protect the selected trees as well as trees adjacent to the site. This plan includes arborists to monitor and ensure the continued health of the trees.


Building Performance

The new State office buildings at 1501 Lavaca and 1500 Congress have been planned externally and internally to maximize the site locations while preserving the surrounding environment.

Design and sustainability teams from HOK, the architect of record for Phase II, considered the site and buildings with occupant comfort and performance in mind. Studies were conducted to illustrate outdoor comfort around the site, reduction in glare from the buildings to nearby areas, and how the design of the building envelope could contribute to lower energy use. The orientation of the buildings provides the most shade possible for outdoor comfort while also allowing the most interior daylighting and views for indoor comfort. Material selection will be based on high performance attributes as well as sustainable design, with an emphasis on recycled content and renewable materials that are locally sourced. Exterior material selections, including windows, are based on reducing heat gain and exterior glare. A life cycle cost analysis informed design decisions on materials and building systems that will allow the buildings to operate within or better than federal and State of Texas energy efficiency targets.

Shade modeling for the 1501 Lavaca and 1500 Congress State office buildings.

Occupant Health and Wellbeing

An important part of the sustainability goals for the Phase II project is ensuring the health and wellbeing of the State employees and visitors that will inhabit these spaces. The interiors are designed for acoustic, thermal, and lighting comfort, with health driven air systems and low-emitting materials that will contribute less to indoor air pollution. A high priority has been placed on natural lighting―more than 75% of the regularly occupied space will have access to daylighting and views. Capitalizing on this design, open workspace areas and social spaces will be nearest to the outside perimeter of the building. Private offices and back of house space will be in the interior.


Recycling and waste reduction strategies will be in place for day-to-day operations in both buildings. Continuing the tradition of the Phase I project, Phase II will provide indoor and outdoor connectivity and access with views of nature and balconies located in both of the new buildings. Landscaping for all three sites includes trees for shade and bird havens and native vegetation to reduce watering and maintenance. Inside the buildings, the material palettes have been chosen specifically to evoke nature and provide the benefits of biophilia to the building occupants.

Daylighting modeling for 1501 Lavaca and 1500 Congress State office buildings. The green area depicts the interior areas that will receive natural light.














High performance building control systems will provide durability, energy efficiency, and healthy environments.

An additional sustainability goal for the Phase II project is to provide new spaces that serve the State of Texas far into the future. The buildings are designed for a 100-year lifecycle with planned system updates every 25 years. The buildings will employ state-of-the-art building system controls to achieve energy and environmental efficiency. The building control systems will monitor building performance and alert the maintenance team to ensure that any issues are managed quickly and efficiently. The entire design is based on durability, longevity and low maintenance with low carbon materials sourced regionally.

The Phase II project design has been informed by proven sustainable best practices specifically studied for the site’s Central Texas climate.

The Phase II project will help fulfill the mandate of the Capitol Complex Project and the environmental quality and energy efficiency requirements of the State of Texas. It will also provide State employees and visitors healthy and inviting spaces that connect nature with the built environment.



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