Tag Archives: Colorado

Hard results of green buildings in Colorado accelerate the adoption

Buildings are improving, becoming more comfortable but also more efficient in use of energy and water. How can this adoption of best technologies and designs be accelerated?

A panel of experts at the Rocky Mountain Green Conference held in Denver recently agreed that examples help. And Colorado has many examples.

“At the end of the day, hard results are the best education,” said Jeff Ackermann, director of the Colorado Energy Office. “If you create baselines of comparable buildings that are built to current high standards—if people can see the real benefits, that is where the conversation starts.”

While energy-efficiency has drawn much attention, he added, the conversation about sustainability should also encompass water use, indoor air quality, and proximity to mass transportation. All are criteria used in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED evaluation process.

The exterior of the NREL net-zero office building. Photo/Allen Best

Some of Colorado’s best examples are found at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, located just off I-70 in Golden. The campus has six buildings certified at the highest level of LEED certification, platinum. One of them is the world’s largest net-zero energy building. NREL uses techniques, such as maximizing use of existing daylight, to reduce need for artificial lights, and maximize solar collection. The parking spaces are covered with photovoltaics.

On hot summer afternoons, the building produces more electricity than it consumes. Other times, it must draw on the grid. As such, most net-zero buildings rely upon carbon energy for backup.

The interior of  the NREL net-zero energy office building uses judicious use of natural lighting to minimize artificial light. Photo/Allen Best

But it’s easier to hit such lofty goals in building performance when you start from scratch, pointed out Frank Rukavina, sustainability director at NREL. He noted that residential and commercial buildings account for about 40 percent of all energy use in the United States. As such, they represent a huge opportunity for potential savings.

Much is happening in Denver. Jerry Tinianow, chief sustainability officer for the city government, said that municipal buildings have become 20 percent less energy intense, with an additional goal of milking another 5.6 percent in savings as compared to the 2005 baseline.

Denver is also trying to help create other models. One is at the former Lowry Airfield, on the border with Aurora. There, a 70-acre enclave called Buckley Annex is being planned as a net-zero neighborhood, meaning the amount of electricity consumed on site in homes, businesses and other community infrastructure will be no greater than the amount that is produced there.

Another project aims for net-zero in commercial buildings downtown. It is moving forward under the auspices of Architecture 2030. “What we really like about it is it’s a voluntary association and not a city-mandated association of buildings, and it’s one in which the government plays a secondary role,” said Tinianow.

If buildings produce their own energy, they won’t rely upon utilities for outside generation, at least not in the same way. Such dispersed production is called distributed generation—and it’s worrisome to utilities whose business model for the last century has consisted of earning revenues based on the volume of electricity sold.

According to Mark Schwartz, representing Xcel Energy on the panel, “We are trying to find a way to embrace that,” he said of local, distributed energy generation.

“Through energy efficiency programs, we have been able to drive down the demand curve.” But net-zero buildings during the next 15 years “has to be something we look at from a utility perspective.”

New financial instruments that allow savings of energy efficiency to be financed will become more important moving forward, said speakers.

Ackermann noted legislation was passed last year to allow PACE programs for commercial buildings, giving building owners the ability to improve paybacks on investments to make buildings more green.

Tinianow pointed to residential energy efficiency programs that make inefficiency upgrades part of an employee benefits program, similar to a 401k benefit. When that happens, he said, “We will see massive expansion of energy efficiency improvements.”

Source: Mountain Town News 


Case Study: University of Colorado


Located at the base of Pikes Peak along the southern Rocky Mountains, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) is host to 12,000 students. Founded in 1965, UCCS has a campus covering over 500 acres, with buildings as diverse as Main Hall, which dates back to 1914, to the 87,000 square foot Beth-El College of Nursing.

Unique problem to solve

UCCS had several goals for the project, each requiring a special set of circumstances. One building called for the replacement of an old DDC system, another needed a partial replacement of an old data management system. Modems needed to be replaced with a campus wide network; software was upgraded. At the same time a new Web server and historian was installed. In addition, the school added electrical meter tracking for all the buildings in order to monitor when peak usage was occurring. Equally important was to be able to complete the project with available funding.

System solution

Setpoint provided UCCS with several package options so the school could choose which solution worked best for its needs and budget. A BACnet system integrated different existing systems as well as the new network, HVAC and electrical meter reading and trending. The University Center went from a pneumatic system to DDC. Setpoint worked with the UCCS IT department to program the system to fit the school’s specific requirements.


Says Ralph Henline, HVAC Technician, “Setpoint was great in causing as little disruption as possible while the system was being installed. The Delta system has helped make it easier to improve occupant comfort. For instance, in the Engineering Building, we have better temperature control. And no longer have to run chillers and boilers at the same time!” Mr. Henline was also quite impressed with Setpoint’s after service, pointing out that when a glitch arose with the firmware, Setpoint replaced the affected controllers at no charge.

What they’re saying at UCCS

On service and support

Setpoint provided us with several option packages so we could build what was most relevant for us. It was important for the school to have that flexibility. Our IT Department uses a little different setup than most other schools, but Setpoint worked with us to get everything talking.”

Ralph Henline, HVAC Technician

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs



About Delta Controls:

Since its inception, Delta Controls has taken a single approach to business: do what it takes to do the job right, all the time, every time. That’s why we offer the most interoperable BACnet platform in the industry. And designed our own HVAC, lighting and access systems to be fully integrated and operated from a single workstation. We pride ourselves on our easy-to-use graphic interface and customizable software. Simply put, we do it right.

ENR Mountain States 2013 Best Projects Winners

Please join us in congratulating a few of our customers for being highlighted or winning “Best Projects in the Mountain States Award!”

  • NREL Controllable Grid Interface, Jefferson County, Colorado
  • Energy Systems Integration Facility, Golden, Colorado
  • Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center, Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Crestone Charter School, Crestone, Colorado
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center, Denver, Colorado

ENR Mountain States 2013 Best Projects Winners By: Mark Shaw

ENR Mountain States is pleased to announce the winners of its 2013 Best Projects competition in the region, which includes Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

A panel of eight judges from all areas of the industry—architects, GCs and engineers—selected winners in each of categories. The judges also selected a number of merit winners and awarded ties in some categories where they thought the projects were of similar quality.

This is the 13th year producing these awards, which are detailed below. In addition to the awards listed, ENR will present safety awards to several deserving projects, and one project in each area (Intermountain and Colorado/Plain States) will win top honors as the Best Overall, along with some judges’ special recognitions. The safety winners will be announced soon, but the special judges awards will not be named until the morning of the awards banquets.

The awards are split into two areas (Intermountain and Colorado), to correspond with their respective awards events, and arranged by category below. Scroll down to see both lists. Projects will be covered in more detail in the October issue of ENR Mountain States and honored at two breakfast awards events: Salt Lake City on Oct. 29 and Denver on Oct. 30.

If you have questions, please e-mail (Mark Shaw, Editor-in-Chief, ENR Mountain States) at mark.shaw@mhfi.com.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Intermountain Winners
(Utah, Idaho and Montana)


Winner: Utah Transit Authority Airport TRAX Extension, Salt Lake City


Winner: Boise LDS Temple Renovation, Boise
Merit: Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum, Vernal, Utah


Winner: FCF Rebuild, Salt Lake City
Merit: High Mesa Wind Farm, Twin Falls, Idaho

Government/Public Building

Winner: Salt Lake City Public Safety Building, Salt Lake City

Health Care

Winner: HCA MountainStar Lone Peak Hospital, Draper, Utah
Merit (tie): Utah State Veterans Nursing Homes, Payson and Ivins, Utah
Merit (tie): Salt Lake Clinic, Salt Lake City

Higher Education/Research

Winner: Tooele Applied Technology College, Toole, Utah
Merit (tie): University of Utah L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Research Institute, Salt Lake City
Merit (tie): University of Utah Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building, Salt Lake City


Winner (tie): U.S. 95 Sand Creek Byway, Sandpoint, Idaho
Winner (tie): Mountain View Corridor, Salt Lake County
Winner (tie): I-15 Corridor Expansion (I-15 CORE), Utah County
Merit (tie): SR-14 Landslide Emergency Repair, CM/GC Services,
Cedar Canyon, Utah
Merit (tie): Carbon and Duchesne Counties Nine Mile Canyon Road Reconstruction, Utah

Interiors/Tenant Improvement

Winner: MRM // McCann, Salt Lake City
Merit: Clearlink Call Center, Winner Floor, Orem, Utah

K-12 Education

Winner: Granger High School, West Valley City, Utah


Winner: Swire Coca-Cola USA Distribution Center, Draper, Utah


Winner: Adobe Corporate Campus, Lehi, Utah
Merit (tie): Deseret Book, Rexburg, Idaho
Merit (tie): eBay Global Customer Service Center, Draper, Utah


Winner: Ogden High School Restoration, Ogden, Utah
Merit (tie): Wheeler Office Renovation, Salt Lake City
Merit (tie): Tribune Building Renovation, Salt Lake City


Winner: The Village at South Campus, Provo, Utah
Merit (tie): Weber State University Residential Life Complex, Ogden, Utah
Merit (tie): Westminster on the Draw Student Housing, Salt Lake City

Small Project (Under $10 million)

Winner: 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Boise
Merit: Uintah County Library, Vernal, Utah

Specialty Contracting

Winner: Rocket Express Car Wash, Midvale, Utah
Merit: Adobe Omniture Phase 1 LEED, Lehi, Utah


Winner: Provo Recreation Center, Provo, Utah
Merit: Megaplex Theatres at Valley Fair Mall, West Valley, Utah


Winner (tie): Orange Street Sewer Trunk Line Rehabilitation, Salt Lake City
Winner (tie): Jordan Basin Water Reclamation Facility, Riverton, Utah
Merit (tie): Streamside Tailings Operable Unit – Silver Bow Creek
Subarea 3 Remedial Action, Butte, Mont.
Merit (tie): Jack Waite Mine Superfund Site Remediation, Bunker Hill, Idaho
Colorado/Wyoming/Kansas Winners


Winner: Mesa Verde National Park Visitor and Research Center, Mesa Verde, Colo.


Winner: NREL Controllable Grid Interface, Jefferson County, Colo.

Government/Public Building

Winner: Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, Denver
Merit: Energy Systems Integration Facility, Golden, Colo.

Green Project

Winner: Windsor Readiness Center, Windsor, Colo.
Merit (tie): Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center, Cheyenne
Merit (tie): Galileo’s Pavilion, Overland Park, Kan.

Health Care

Winner (tie): Rangely District Hospital Replacement Hospital, Rangely Colo.
Winner (tie): University of Colorado Hospital —
New Inpatient Tower and Critical Care Wing Expansion, Aurora, Colo.
Merit (tie): Children’s Hospital East Tower Addition, Aurora, Colo.
Merit (tie): Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, Castle Rock, Colo.


Winner: I-70 & Central Park Boulevard Interchange, Denver

Interiors/Tenant Improvement

Winner: Turner Construction Offices, Denver

K-12 Education

Winner (tie): Manhattan High School West Campus & Bishop Stadium,
Manhattan, Kan.
Winner (tie): Garden City High School, Garden City, Kan.
Merit: Crestone Charter School, Crestone, Colo.


Winner: Trimble Rockies Campus, Westminster, Colo.
Merit: Suncor Energy USA Denver Regional Headquarters, Commerce City, Colo.


Winner: Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse,
Grand Junction, Colo.
Merit (tie): Colorado State University Parmelee Hall Revitalization, Fort Collins, Colo.
Merit (tie): Hotel Jerome, Aspen, Colo.


Winner: Metropolitan State University of Denver Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center, Denver

Small Project (Under $10 million)

Winner: Drive at TAXI, Denver
Merit: Elk Camp Restaurant, Snowmass, Colo.


Winner (tie): Horsethief Canyon Native Fish Facility, Fruita, Colo.
Winner (tie): Southern Delivery System South Pipeline 2, Pueblo County, Colo.