Mike McKibbin

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October 31, 2012
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Efficiency key to new Encana Parachute Park field office

"Durable, maintainable and efficient" is how the project manager for Encana Oil & Gas describes the company's new Piceance Basin field office and control center at 143 Diamond Ave. in Parachute Park.The 49,000-square foot, three-story building was built by general contractor G.E. Johnson of Colorado Springs, with more than 80 percent West Slope subcontractors, said Eric Olsen. Construction began in January and Encana moved in this month, he added.The company had leased space at the Solvay Chemicals plant north of Parachute for the last several years."We focused on efficiency, durability and maintainability throughout," Olsen said during a media tour of the building on Monday."This is a field office, it's not a downtown Denver office building," Encana spokesman Doug Hock said. "So we didn't want anything that fancy or expensive."For example, a 95-seat "pumper room," where field workers come in early each morning and download information on wells and other facilities, includes motion and light sensors to save energy, Olsen said.After the room is vacant for a time, the high-efficiency lights automatically turn off, he said. If natural light meets a certain level, Olsen added, the lights turn off as well.Windows are double pane with a high R-value for insulation and are treated to keep heat out in the summer so the building's air conditioning does not run as much, Olsen said."We oriented the building almost totally north and south to maximize natural light and reduce energy use," Olsen said.Davis Architects of Eagle designed the building, Olsen said, including "a lot of suggestions on how we could be even more efficient."Encana also worked with Xcel Energy to have another engineering firm help with efficiency as well, Olsen said.One suggestion was to use special electrical power strips that will turn off computer monitors and other equipment, after a certain amount of time a user does not move their legs, Olsen said.As a result, the building's electrical usage should be 22 percent more efficient than most buildings of similar size and uses, Olsen said. Peak electrical use should be 31 percent lower, heating should more 35 percent more efficient and the cost of all utilities should be 22 percent lower, Olsen said.After one year of energy use data is gathered in the new building, Olsen said, Encana may apply for an Energy Star rating from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.Olsen said interior costs, including furniture and supplies, was around $6 million. The developer, Shea Properties of California, paid a little less than $10 million to do the site work, including land acquisition, Olsen said.The building is Encana's largest field office in the U.S., with a maximum occupancy of 314 people, Olsen said. Currently, between 230 to 240 workers use the building, he added. With modifications, such as renovating meeting rooms and storage rooms into offices, and adding more cubicles, Olsen said the building could hold 345 people. "We built it on the northern end of a five-acre parcel, so if we expand, it would be to the south," Olsen said.Hock said the new building was not built for any immediate increase in workers."We had just seriously outgrown our previous location," he added.Another 20,000 square feet could be added, if and when Encana expands, Olsen said. The company has a 20-year lease on its new location, he noted.Encana has drilled around 3,000 natural gas wells in Garfield County since 2002 and has had its regional headquarters in the Parachute area since 2004, Hock said.Encana has five drilling rigs in the Piceance Basin this year, Hock said."We haven't set our [2013] budget yet, but I'd anticipate a similar level of activity," he said.

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The Post Independent Updated Nov 1, 2012 01:11PM Published Oct 31, 2012 06:04PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.