Colorado Sustainable Design Awards: Commercial


1st place
Total Community Options
Headquarters (Denver)
Architect: OZ Architecture/Chad Holtzinger
General contractor/builder: Saunders Construction
Developer: Heitler Development; Hartman Ely Investments
Owner: Total Longterm Care


Total Community Options, a nonprofit organization serving seniors, is located in the Lowry Redevelopment, a former U.S. Air Force base. Saving money on operating costs through energy conservation was a primary driver in its decision to pursue a green office building. A laminated glass photovoltaic system was featured at the front of the building to showcase the technology and promote sustainability. Originally the building was programmed for 60,000 square feet but was reduced to 45,000 after redefining the work space to adjust to changing workplace trends (such as employees spending more time out of the office).

Sustainable features

›› To reduce cooling loads for the building, parking areas were upgraded to a lighter color, using concrete rather than asphalt. Plants and pervious paving also were used to lower surrounding temperatures.
›› Plumbing fixtures throughout the building are designed to save 50 percent of the water compared to a conventional office building.
›› TCO saves 70 percent in energy costs compared to a code-compliant office building (43 percent without the photovoltaic panels).
›› The project supported the local economy and reduced transportation impacts by using gypsum board and brick manufactured
in Colorado.


2nd place
Design Studio, Denver
Architect: Architectural Workshop
General contractor/builder: Brown-Schrepferman
& Co.


The goal of this project was to restore the historic integrity of a 1933 brick building while giving it new life. In the conversion of this run-down building into a contemporary design studio, sustainable features became the highest priority. Finishes and building systems were selected to create a warm, healthy and inspiring environment while reducing the environmental impact. Exposing the original brick and opening up all of the original windows allowed the space to be flooded with natural light and air while bringing back a connection to the community.

Sustainable features

›› This site was an impermeable lot with no landscaping. By taking out oversized concrete sidewalks and replacing them with red sandstone pavers and xeriscaping the front, the building became part of the original Denver streetscape.
›› Natural daylighting and ventilation through new operable windows and
skylights are coordinated with a
low-energy swamp cooler to provide additional cooling.
›› A super-insulating exterior skin reduced heating and cooling loads by 50 percent.
›› Ninety-five percent of the original
structure was reused.


3rd place
1800 Larimer
Architect: RNL Design
General contractor: M.A. Mortenson Co.
Developer: Westfield Co. Inc.


This 22-story LEED Platinum building,
the first new high rise in the city’s central
business district in 25 years, was financed in 2008 with $45 million in private equity and a $145 million loan. It sold in February 2011 for $213 million, or $430 per square foot, a record price for a Denver office property. The project was designed to reduce operating costs, maximize the use of space and improve worker productivity. It attracted Xcel Energy Inc., which wanted a new regional headquarters to consolidate its 1,200 employees.

Sustainable features

›› The building features include under-
floor air distribution via raised floors, water-conserving fixtures and 9-foot, 6-inch
ceilings with floor-to-ceiling windows.
›› It can automatically monitor energy-
consuming equipment, fine-tuning that equipment during peak operation and troubleshooting potential issues.
›› A central computer station monitors
power usage.
›› The building’s steel, concrete and glass all contain recycled content. About 85 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfill and recycled; about 48 percent of materials were from recycled sources;
nearly 24 percent of materials were
obtained regionally.

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