A non-profit organization, The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, purchased this 38,000 ft2building in Denver’s historic Lower Downtown in 2004 and made major renovations to it in 2006, converting the old warehouse into office spaces. Goals were to promote building health, energy and water efficiency, while preserving historic integrity.Renovations resulted in a 35% energy reduction despite a doubling of the occupancy. The building uses 55% less energy compared to the average for offices in the U.S.
How it was accomplished. The project consisted of reconfiguring the interior spaces, updating the building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, updating telecom and electric systems, and adding new finishes. Improvements mainly focused on the following areas:
Replacement of one rooftop HVAC unit and upgrade of complete system to digital controls
Replacement of older fluorescent lighting with T-8 lamps with high efficiency ballasts
Use of photocells for daylighting on top floor, and occupancy sensors throughout
Installation of a Mylar film on the interior of lobby glazing to save energy and reduce glare
Installation of sunshades on 6th floor windows
Benefits. The improvements reduced energy use by 35%, even with increased occupancy and ventilation rates. The building was awarded a LEED Gold for existing buildings, a mayor’s design award for energy savings, and several other awards.
Versatility. Although existing buildings will all have many differences and challenges for energy improvements, many elements are common such as the building HVAC system and lighting.
Replicability. The improvements are fairly typical for cost effective changes in nearly all buildings.