Colorado Sustainable Design Awards: Civic
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
General contractor/builder: Haselden Construction
Developer: Department of Energy/National Renewable Energy Laboratory
The U.S. Department of Energy had a lofty goal when it began planning the Research Support Facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden – create the largest commercial net-zero energy structure in the country.
The 220,000-square-foot office building and data center cost $54.7 million to construct and was built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standards, the highest designation. About 800 government employees will work in the building, using only power created on or near the building and about 50 percent less than if it were built to current commercial codes, the DOE says.
“With 19 percent of the primary energy in the U.S. consumed by commercial buildings, DOE’s goal for the Research Support Facility project is to help change the way commercial office buildings are designed and built,” the department says.
• Building orientation: The relatively narrow floor plate (60 feet wide) enables daylighting and natural ventilation for all occupants.
• A labyrinth of concrete structures in the building’s crawl space stores thermal energy and provides additional capacity for passive heating of the building.
• Outside ventilation air is preheated with transpired solar collectors – a technology developed by NREL – on the building’s south face.
• Daylighting: 100 percent of the work stations use daylight, which enters the upper portions of the south-facing windows and is reflected to the ceiling and deep into the space with light-reflecting devices.
• Radiant heating and cooling: Approximately 42 miles of radiant piping runs through all floors of the building, using water as the cooling and heating medium in the majority of workspaces rather than forced air.
If this were a national award, the NREL project would be a winner. This project was head and shoulders above everything else in the CSDA competition. It should be noted, however, that the Department of Energy spared no expense to achieve the project’s net-zero energy status. “
Carbondale Recreation Center Promenade Park
Architect: DHM Design
General contractor/builder: B&H Construction/ Landscape Workshop
Developer: Town of Carbondale
The Carbondale Recreation Center is a certified LEED Platinum building that uses on-site renewable energy, minimizes the use of water and achieves close to a zero carbon footprint. The project, built in part with recycled materials, was divided into single-story sections so that it would blend with the community’s small-town image.
The site, located on the town’s primary civic property, links the Rio Grande regional bike and pedestrian trail with downtown. Public transportation and densely populated neighborhoods are nearby, helping to reduce automobile use.
• The 45-degree, south-facing roof is covered by a 52-kilowatt photovoltaic system that provides two-thirds of the center’s energy needs.
• A 9-by-70-foot outdoor exercise area along the south face of the cardio exercise room provides a natural exercise environment, passes daylight and views to the building interior, and serves as a buffer to reduce heat loss and gain.
• The gymnasium’s skylights are its primary source of light.
• The HVAC system reduces energy costs by 54 percent compared to a standard code-compliant building. The electrical and mechanical systems perform nearly 50 percent better.
• Water conservation measures, including dual-flush toilets, low-flow urinals, lavatories and showers reduce water use by 43 percent.
• As measured by cost, 32 percent of the building materials contained post-consumer and/or post-industrial recycled content, including flooring materials made from old truck and bus tires.
The developers of this project truly emphasized care for the land around it, demonstrating dedication to restoring the surrounding ecosystem. this project demonstrates that you can achieve a lot when you have a considerable budget.
Evie Garrett Dennis E-12 Campus
Architect: DLR Group
Mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer: M.E. Group Inc.
General contractor/builder: Saunders Construction Inc.
Developer: HC Development
Owner: Denver Public Schools
The Evie Garrett Dennis Campus project is an 186,468-square-foot E-12 campus in Denver. Among the goals of the project in the Green Valley Ranch development was to be the most energy-efficient school in Colorado and to achieve net-zero energy status through the use of on-site renewable energy. The combination of energy-efficiency and a 300 kilowatt photovoltaic array on the student union roof will result in zero net-energy use for two of the four buildings.
To create a long-term learning tool, energy kiosks with large plasma screens inform students about energy consumption and other information for their building. Plexiglass-covered wall cutaways let students get an inside look at piping, heat pumps, ducts, electrical lines, framing, insulation and other construction components.
• Classrooms are equipped with operable windows, which take advantage of the building’s cross-ventilation. Classrooms feature daylight harvesting controls capable of reducing lighting energy consumption in each classroom by 50 percent.
• All four buildings have a thermoplastic polyolefin roofing system, a sustainable solution that provides a highly reflective, Energy Star-rated surface. This helps to reduce building cooling requirements, reducing energy consumption and utility expenses.
• The buildings were designed to allow for good day lighting, while minimizing the solar gains resulting from the glazing.
• Low-flow fixtures, urinals, toilets and sinks are installed throughout the entire campus.
• A solar panel array on the roof of the student union totaling approximately 30,000 square feet generates 300 kilowatts of energy for the campus buildings.
This project could serve as the prototype of a sustainable school, with strong baseline qualities that provide a shining example to other school districts. “