Carbondale rec center is a state LEEDer
CARBONDALE, Colorado The town of Carbondale has added another feather to its green cap, in the form of one of the highest honors in energy efficient building design for the new Carbondale Recreation & Community Center.The U.S. Green Building Council sent word late last week that it had awarded the facility its most prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification of Platinum. The designation recognizes the buildings energy saving features, including a 52-kilowatt rooftop solar array, plus indoor environmental quality and sustainable site design.It is one of only two new construction projects in Colorado to be certified LEED Platinum the other being the science and technology building at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, according to Carbondale Recreation Director Jeff Jackel.Its also one of just 83 worldwide to earn such status, and the only recreation facility to obtain the top LEED rating, he said. Other LEED designations include basic certified, silver and gold status.This will likely get a lot of notoriety nationally, Jackel said. Im sure well be receiving requests from builders and other governments asking how we were able to achieve this.After Carbondale voters in 2004 approved a dedicated sales tax and bond issue to build the recreation center, town officials began planning the eventual 15,200-square-foot, $4.27 million facility with energy efficiency in mind.The initial site selection, immediately adjacent to Town Hall in the center of town and close to transit and bike paths, was the first key step.It was always our intention to pursue LEED certification, but we didnt set a specific goal, we just simply said to the design team do the best you can, Carbondale Mayor Michael Hassig said. It really was a collaboration between the design team, town staff, the contractor and consultants who worked hard to make this happen.The design-build team of John R. Baker Architects of Carbondale and B & H General Contractors came up with a plan to balance environmental responsibility and resource efficiency with a pleasing design. Construction on the recreation center began in spring 2007, and the facility opened in March of last year.Along the way, several features were added to the design that went a long way toward obtaining LEED Platinum status.Chief among them was when local solar contractor Sol Energy approached the town with a proposal to install a 288-panel photovoltaic system on the roof capable of providing two-thirds of the annual electricity needs of the recreation center. The project was financed by Rockwell International.(Sol Energy owner) Ken Olsen brought that idea to us, which was a perfect example of a member of the community wanting to be engaged in the effort, Hassig said. It was a real townwide effort.Two local LEED accredited professionals, energy consultant Joani Matranga and architect Jeff Dickinson, were also instrumental in the process.Other aspects that resulted in the LEED designation included: Energy efficient fixtures, such as skylights, passive solar design, low-flow toilets and waterless urinals; A Great Outdoors Colorado grant-funded project to develop a xeriscaped park and gardens next to the facility, where DHM Design landscape architects came up with an irrigation system using nearby ditch water and capturing storm runoff from the buildings roof; Town purchase of $1,500 in extra wind energy credits that were applied to the rec center; and, Educational information within the facility explaining its various green features, including a computer touchscreen monitor in the lobby that gives regular readouts on the solar photovoltaic system.Its something I never expected we could ever really achieve, lead architect John Baker said. This was a great opportunity for me, and I learned that it takes a lot of different aspects of green, sustainable design to create this sort of project.Baker said he would like to use that experience to develop a green design educational program that can be used in the local high schools and at Colorado Mountain College.Jackel added that the town is already working to submit the recreation center for a variety of national awards related to building design.Contact John Stroud: email@example.com
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