Posted: November 10, 2009
CSDA winners: the complete list
Inspired and sustainable: designs for an energy-efficient futureBy
Douglas County Elementary School Prototype
RB+B/Hutton Architects LLC
This 71,000-square-foot school was built on a 10-acre site in Douglas County for $12.25 million. As one of the fastest-growing counties in the country, the Douglas County School District needed to build 11elementary schools to meet its growing demand.
This design for an affordable, sustainable elementary school reduces energy consumption, lowers utility costs, improves indoor air quality and enhances students' learning.
A central part of the design was the development of thematic landscape elements for each school that draw on local history and character or reflect the specific curriculum of each school.
• The design maximizes the potential for daylight in the classrooms when the building is oriented on an east-west axis, with the classrooms facing north-south.
• Shaping ceilings distribute the window daylight evenly. Second-floor spaces are supported by nearly 100 tubular daylight devices. The end result is glare-free space that rarely uses the photocell-controlled electric lighting.
• The target for energy use is nearly 60 percent below the average for Douglas County schools.
• Several schools share artificial turf fields with local park districts, reducing water use and optimizing public open space.
• Low-flow toilet fixtures with infrared shutoffs minimize the impact of 650 students using the school over the course of the school day.
The idea of a prototype is often talked about but rarely implemented in sustainability initiatives. This project had some well-defined metrics around energy use (kBtu/SF, % reduction), and included passive solar design and architecturally intelligent shading that takes advantage of Colorado's sunny environment to light classrooms without introducing glare or unwanted heat."
The $23-million project, which replaced an existing middle school but kept part of the original structure, is the first school in the K-12 category to earn a LEED Gold certification. Designing sustainable features was funded in part with a $250,000 grant from CORE (Community Office of Resource Efficiency). The 111,000-square-foot middle school shares a 29-acre campus with an elementary school. The architects aimed to meet the school district's goals for high-performance design, improving educational spaces and capitalizing on the site's natural setting
• Daylighting strategies include the use of exterior sun shades, interior daylighting devices, lighting controls and high-performance glazing.
• Operable windows and daylighting throughout could easily allow the building to function without power.
• Low-flow plumbing fixtures were used throughout the building, including dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals and infrared-sensing faucets.
• About half of the construction waste was diverted from the landfill and casework, and furniture from the old middle school was reused.
• The direct-digital-controlled HVAC system releases no ozone-depleting chemicals, is zoned to small areas and has CO2 sensors to adjust the amount of fresh air.
This LEED Gold-certified building is notable for its reuse of the original structure and how the architects handled a challenging building orientation that includes east- and west-facing classrooms. The use of an evaporative cooling system represents a great example for many Colorado school projects, as does the retaining of the natural landscape and an integrated stormwater management system."
Palmer Ridge High School, Monument
This school in Monument has the largest geothermal system in Colorado - it features 200 wells, each 400 feet deep, that heat and cool using the Earth's stable underground temperature. The 219,370-square-foot school sits on 69 acres. The $45.4 million project was "designed for a community that has a love of nature, the great outdoors, and the values of honesty, integrity, and simplicity," H+L wrote in its entry. "The design embraces natural materials and finds inspiration in the values of the community."
• Carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by more than 500 tons per year (25 percent less carbon dioxide) compared to the average high school.
• Green features, including geothermal heating and light sensors, will save the school district about $22,596 a year.
• Sensors are present on all restroom fixtures, including water closets, bathroom sinks and urinals.
• Hot water recirculation on all water loops also conserve water.
• About 5 percent to 10 percent of the structure was built from recycled content, and 5 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.
Although large mechanical systems may be overcompensating for opportunities not captured in the shell design, the overall projected energy performance of the project is stellar. In addition, the Xeric landscaping is a great model for embracing native plants in an aesthetically compelling manner and dramatically reduces the need for irrigation water. Exposed steel beams and other visual materials will engage the students in the design of the building."
Science and Engineering Building, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus
The Science and Engineering Building, located on the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus, consists of new classroom, laboratory, research and office spaces. Initially, the university's goal was to obtain a LEED-certified building; the design team delivered a building that achieved LEED Gold, in part by a design that reduced energy costs by 31 percent (when compared with baseline standards).
• Water-conserving flush and flow fixtures - including waterless urinals, dual-flush water closets, low-flow lavatories, showers and sinks - are predicted to reduce potable water consumption by 42 percent compared to a standard code-compliant building.
• Outside, the use of high-efficiency irrigation technologies along with water conserving plant species reduce potable water demand for irrigation by 59 percent compared to a conventional landscape design typical of the area.
• The mechanical cooling plant consists of variable speed chillers with environmentally friendly refrigerant, premium efficiency variable speed pumps, and ice storage tanks. At night when the air is cool and electric utility rates are low, the chillers build ice in the tanks
• On the roof, a 2,300-square-foot thin film photovoltaic panel system produces about 26,000 kilowatt hours per year for the building.
• Recycling and storage areas are placed throughout the building, accessible to all building occupants. In addition, the construction team salvaged or diverted from the landfill 97 percent of all construction waste.
Here's a project that includes a bit of everything - strong building design with thoughtful architecture, passive shading that allows daylight to penetrate, and nighttime ice storage that makes good use of peak electricity use. It's a built-to-last structure that features quality building materials but nothing fancy. It also demonstrates a strong link to the education system - an engineering building that is smartly engineered in every way."
This public-private-nonprofit collaboration incorporates two important city initiatives - Denver's Road Home and the Greener Denver program of the Office of Economic Development - in support of important social, economic and environmental goals. The 100-unit mixed-income development located in River North in Denver, near the Prospect and Denargo Market Neighborhoods, is within walking distance to downtown. Its primary orientation fronts Park Avenue West, a major east / west RTD bus line, and the bike and jogging trails along the South Platte River.
• Fifty percent of the construction waste was recycled and site runoff was controlled to avoid water contamination.
• The building's double "C" footprint and orientation maximizes natural light through south and west exposures and protects against buffeting northwest winds.
• Rooftop photovoltaic panels will generate 39,650 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, equivalent to offsetting carbon dioxide emissions by 79,000 pounds a year.
• The building's Ecospace elevators use one-third of the energy required for hydraulic lifts and don't need oil.
• Energy Star appliances and light fixtures in all units further conserve energy while low-flow toilets, faucets and showers save water.
This project from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless blends strong architecture with environmental features and a strong emphasis on social sustainability, including its proximity to a river and public transportation. The economic impact of getting people off the street can't be overstated. This project speaks well of us as a society."
Medical Center of the Rockies, Loveland
JE Dunn Construction Co.
Medical Center of the Rockies' healing environment embraces all 92 acres and 570,000 square feet of the finished building. Beginning with the surrounding landscape, there are multiple public and private courtyards where patients, family members and hospital staff are surrounded by native plants, roaring rivers and calming water features. The campus also incorporates nearly 2 miles of walking and biking trails. The two five-story patient towers are filled with natural light and are connected by a full height open atrium that features stacked stone fireplaces and a grand stairway.
• The hospital is surrounded by open space landscaped to fit the native environment and includes drought tolerant plants and wetlands.
• Through the use of efficient heating and cooling systems the hospital uses 35 percent less energy than the average hospital.
• The team's efforts included using building materials that contained at least 20 percent recycled content and locally and regionally harvested materials. More than 75 percent of the trash generated by the project was diverted from area landfills.
• With strategic window placement and the incorporation of electrically operated window shades in the clinical laboratories, 50 percent of the lighting required for the clinical laboratories is provided through exterior windows.
Features worth noting include a 30 percent energy savings compared to standard hospital construction. Natural light, access to fresh air and lots of good healing spaces provide ample health benefits. The one concern was the development on a greenfield site, but the site design includes very good preservation of native ecology for habitat creation and natural storm-water management."
Edge House, Boulder
Architect: Rodwin Architecture
Located in a dense 50-year-old neighborhood, the property has easy bus access and is near shopping and schools. The existing 43-year-old, 7,000-square-foot house was built substantially over the property lines, had no possibility for passive solar orientation, and contained six stories and lots of asbestos. The project entailed deconstructing it, resulting in a 91 percent landfill diversion. An innovative "replacement value" accounting method for deconstruction tax deductions made the renovation financially competitive with demolition. The new exterior material palette reflects the predominant use of local materials in the existing neighborhood. By preserving the existing vegetation and augmenting it with native xeric plants, almost 30 percent of the site that had been previously built upon was restored to native habitat. The living and dining rooms bend around a large existing tree, creating a beautiful outdoor room.
• The project introduced Boulder's first legal gray water system, which required lobbying to change the building code, and a ground source heat pump. The design utilized an innovative sleeved technique to allow the hole to be drilled through 100 feet of gravel.
• The previously piped storm water system was opened up to restore it to its historic configuration as a natural, "seasonal wetland."
• Energy strategies include passive solar design (window size, placement and tuning, paired with large calculated overhangs), natural daylighting (light from two sides of all major rooms, and a giant Kalwall skylight at the core), natural cooling (operable windows on two sides of all major rooms), and thermal mass at the core (three-story stone wall).
This LEED Platinum-certified, zero-energy home, featuring a climate-appropriate passive design, can help teach the world about the net-zero concept and how to be truly sustainable. Its water reclamation system - the first legally permitted gray-water system in the city of Boulder - can help promote how Colorado can attack its antiquated water use restrictions. In many ways, this home is a laboratory from which we can all learn."
Ridge View, Nederland
Architect: Weber Architecture
Nestled in the foothills above Boulder, this is the first of 30 homes planned for the net-zero community of Caribou Ridge. Cutting-edge sustainable building materials, renewable energy-efficient systems and conveniences of contemporary lifestyle are integrated into an architecture intended to celebrate its connection to the Rocky Mountains. 24 Ridge View represents the middle range of residential quality, home size and lot size available in Caribou Ridge. Although the home is a prototype for the net-zero community, it is not intended to be duplicated verbatim. Future adjacent homes will be similar only through their renewable energy systems, sustainable approach and general character. The home is also intended to be a Hybrid Renewable Energy project that incorporates multiple types of sustainable design practices.
• 24 Ridge View has received the highest level of sustainable building certification by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) National Green Building Standard.
• Floor, wall and roof framing materials are engineered lumber systems and wood systems certified by the Forest Stewardship Council U.S. to ensure protection from over-forestation practices. All interior and exterior wood applications are recycled from local beetle killed trees or from FSC controlled forested products.
• The main tongue-and-groove wood flooring system is made from Trestle Wood reclaimed from train trestles located in the Great Salt Lake area.
The home at 24 Ridge View is the first of 30 planned for the net-zero community of Caribou Ridge. For the developer to design and build this one first is impressive, since it will be the prototype for the community. Wind turbines will provide plenty of power and are the first of their kind in Colorado for a residential neighborhood of this scale. Its contextual design includes entrances that will provide shelter from the wind. This project is designed with the micro-environment in mind."
Architect: PEH Architects
Imagine! SmartHome is a new one-story group home for people with developmental delays and cognitive disabilities. An energy-efficient building envelope is complemented by solar photovoltaic, solar hot water, geothermal heating and cooling, and passive solar design. In addition, the SmartHome technologies such as task prompters to assist in daily tasks, ceiling mounted lifts in bedrooms, and automated window blinds were incorporated into the design in order to aid the day-to-day activities of the residents. The approximate construction cost of the project was $1.2 Million.
• On-site renewable energy systems supplement each other to take full advantage of "free" energy. Solar PV panels provide electricity for the geothermal heat pumps. Super-heaters installed on the heat pumps provide additional hot water to supplement the solar hot water panels.
• The orientation and roof slope were chosen to optimize the southern solar exposure for the solar panels. Long roof overhangs shade large windows in the summer, but allow passive solar heat gain in the winter.
• Multiple clearstory windows were incorporated throughout the building for natural light.
• There is no use of natural gas anywhere in the project. In addition, the house has been preliminarily rated at a HERS score of 24, approaching a net-zero energy home.
This one-story group home in Boulder houses people with developmental delays and cognitive disabilities. Its preliminary "home energy rating score" of 24 - which represents a 76-percent reduction in energy use relative to code - was achieved through the installation of photovoltaic panels, ground-source heat pumps and solar hot water panels. There are strong social aspects of this project, including its orientation to transit. The fact that it was built on a constrained urban site and achieved a strong space-to-unit ratio is significant."
[csda] sustainable communities
Geos Net-Zero Energy Neighborhood
Michael Tavel Architects and David Kahn Studio
Geos will be the largest net-zero energy, urban mixed-use neighborhood in the United States. Earth and sun power will completely sustain the community's energy needs, and replace all fossil fuels. The project will consist of 282 dwelling units on 25.3 acres, including 8.5 acres of parks and 12.1 acres of parcels. The neighborhood is intertwined with natural systems, stormwater-fed landscapes, and civic places. Rain and snow melt feed street tree rain gardens, percolation parks, plazas and community gardens. Geos received final development approval from the city of Arvada and will begin construction in late fall 2009. This is a demonstration project in sustainable urbanism intended to encourage advancements in resource conservation in the American homebuilding industry.
• The project's solar orientation is designed to reduce energy demands by one-third. Deciduous trees have been selected to shade east- and west-facing windows in the summer but not shade photovoltaic panels - even in winter.
• Geothermal, solar thermal and photovoltaics are utilized for remaining energy needs. No fossil fuels or natural gas are provided to the site. Ground-source heat is provided through a horizontal loop field.
• "Percolation parks" are threaded through the neighborhood as common greens. These are usable, "mixed-use" greens that support urban agriculture, child play and wildlife habitat.
This plan for a project in Arvada aims to be the largest net-zero energy, urban mixed-use neighborhood in the United States. It combines an appreciation for an urban street network with interesting ways to orient the homes in a checkerboard pattern to best collect sunlight, with the "front" yards actually being on the side. The project has a great stormwater management system and strong architecture. This could be the first net-zero energy community that also features the lowest possible price, with relatively affordable homes and no energy bills. We can't wait for construction to start."
South Main is a compact, dense, mixed-use neighborhood on an infill site previously used as a trash dump. The design concentrates open space on the Arkansas River, providing acres of riverfront park area frequented by residents of South Main, Buena Vista and the general public. The project encompasses 41 acres, with 327 residential units ranging in size from 740 square feet to 5,900 square feet, with an average living space of 2,039 square feet.
• The street grid is ideally positioned for solar orientation of homes.
• The developers have used on-site rock (South Main is on a glacial moraine) for a cobblestone street.
• Developers required that homes be certified through Built Green Colorado, and though it is no longer certifying, the developers plan to keep building to that standard. The developers say most of the project's homes exceed by several times Built Green's requirement for certification.
This mixed-use community in Buena Vista, on a site that was formerly a trash dump, features good density and public spaces. It's a walking community, adjacent to downtown, with such recreational amenities as kayaking and bouldering and includes a park. The choice to build at a high density in a rural setting is admirable."
Wolff Lyon Architects
Sitting on 85 acres a little more than a mile away from downtown Breckenridge, this project addressed the challenges of reclaiming the ravaged landscape of a former mining site. The Wellington Neighborhood project consists of 282 units ranging from 576 square-foot "carriage units" to 2,000 square-foot single-family homes.
The compact neighborhood plan features a simple grid of connected streets. Homes face each other across auto-free, village "green-courts" that allow neighborly interaction and safe, easily supervised child's play. While the median cost of a single-family home in Breckenridge is $800,000, the Wellington Neighborhood achieves affordability for the middle-income people who work in Summit County by designating 80 percent of the units in the neighborhood as permanently affordable.
• Connectivity to downtown, adjacent neighbors and surrounding open space encourage sustainable living and transporation choices.
• Each home features energy-efficient plumbing fixtures, shallow frost foundation systems and efficient building envelopes.
• Through building orientation and window placement, natural ventilation and light are provided.
• The planning team made traditional neighborhood design possible by working with the community to devise new zoning flexibility to increase density, reduce setbacks from houses to the street, create narrower streets, and allow for smaller lots. This new zoning encourages mixed use in live-work buildings.
This neighborhood, within walking and biking distance of downtown Breckenridge, reclaimed a former mining site. Eighty percent of its planned 282 homes will be affordable work-force housing. The community features well planned small open spaces and is close to the river. Its homes, 200 of which have already been built, acknowledge the architectural precedents in Breckenridge."