James A. Rhodes State Office Tower earns Energy Star certification


COLUMBUS – For the third year in a row, the James A. Rhodes State Office Tower has earned Energy Star certification.

The 2020 designation was due in part to a nearly complete modernization project and other conservation initiatives by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services. The tower is the tallest building in downtown Columbus, and at 41 stories, it is also the tallest building in state government.

“Among our top priorities in the management of DAS-owned facilities are energy efficiency and saving taxpayer dollars,” DAS Interim Director Matt Whatley said. “The Rhodes Tower project, as well as additional measures to reduce energy use as building systems are replaced, are creating a modern facility and advancing our goal of making state government a friend of the environment.”

The certification was granted to the tower for meeting strict energy performance standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star-certified buildings save energy and money and help protect the environment by generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions than typical buildings.

More than 3,000 windows have been replaced since the $70 million modernization project began in October 2019. These new window systems are more energy efficient than the original windows, making the building more comfortable and lowering utility bills. The other major part of the project – the granite repair work – is approximately 75 percent complete. The project is expected to conclude in January 2022.

Additional energy conservation initiatives contributing to the certification were:

• A chiller plant energy optimization project was completed to reduce electricity usage.

• A building air pressure control project was completed to reduce the heating load, saving natural gas.

• Variable speed controls were applied to all fans and pumps, reducing power consumption.

These initiatives are expected to result in a 16% reduction in energy use.

Other DAS properties that received certification over the same period include Columbus’ Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, DAS offices at 4200 Surface Road, and the headquarters for the Ohio Department of Education located at 25 South Front St., as well as the Frank J. Lausche and Oliver Ocasek buildings in Cleveland and Akron.