2015 Finalist: The All-Rounder

The most improved building across multiple sustainability categories.

Who led the charge

Kenner Kingston
President, Architectural Nexus



Kenner Kingston is an architect and the President of Architectural Nexus, a Salt Lake City-based design firm, and led the design and LEED certification of the firm’s headquarters. In addition to being the only Living Future Accredited Professional in Utah’s Great Basin region, Kenner volunteers his time as an Ambassador Presenter for the International Living Future Institute.


  • Take a stepped approach

  • Systematically identify the issues

  • Start with an ASHRAE audit

  • Focus on the Retro-Cx and operations aspects

Designers Close a Gap in Sustainability Metrics

Designing a building to achieve key sustainable metrics is one thing. Actually operating it according to those metrics is quite another, as the designers at Architectural Nexus discovered. 

One year after renovating their circa-1950s Salt Lake City area headquarters in 2010 to gain LEED Platinum Certification, the firm signed on for the AIA 2030 Challenge, which sets baselines for a building’s energy, water and materials usage. However when the company gathered utility bills to confirm its adherence to the Challenge’s Energy Use Intensity (EUI) standards, it was clear that they’d need to make further improvements to compensate for some systems not delivering the expected savings. 

To curb cooling costs for its large, open-area office space, the firm cycled rooftop mechanical units to alternately cool quadrants every 15 minutes instead of having them run constantly to cool all areas of the building. It also deployed a computer network using “thin-client” displays hooked into a central server. Doing this took the office’s heat-generating computers off the desktop. The company also tracks and sorts its own waste as part of a Waste Audit to identify reduction opportunities. 

Throughout this process, the firm engaged and educated staff and occupants. And eventually the building also became a teaching example, with Architectural Nexus hosting talks about sustainability and conservation.



"When we took ownership of our own building, we decided to tackle an energy-efficient renovation on our own. Now, our future clients can reap the rewards of our experience."


CLOSE UP: Architecural Nexus Design Center

What did we do?
Architectural Nexus improved energy, water and materials consumption on an adaptive reuse project for its corporate headquarters, originally completed in 2010.

Why we did it: 
To improve sustainability in compliance with the AIA 2030 Challenge’s Energy Use Intensity standards and gain recognition as one of only a handful of Double-Platinum buildings (NC and EB) in the world.

Our Approach: 
Architectural Nexus improved performance through smart operational improvements as well as equipment upgrades, including deployment of Thin Client desktop computers and cycling rooftop mechanical units.



  • Energy, water and materials consumption now meet AIA 2030 Challenge requirements
  • The headquarters now hosts sustainability-focused events; its new features serve as functioning examples of sustainability best practices
  • Stewardship is now a named core value of the organization