Better Denver Bond projects are incorporating green design and construction approaches that use energy efficiency, recycling, and wise use of land, water and other materials. These design and construction approaches can also save capital, operations and maintenance costs. Better Denver projects seek sustainable elements that can be readily implemented, are environmentally responsible, and which balance the economic, environmental, and social aspects of each project. Techniques used or considered include using post consumer recycled materials; recycling, salvaging or reusing construction or demolition waste; and reducing water through the use of efficient landscaping and irrigation.
Where practical and possible, the Better Denver Program is also pursuing opportunities to build and design its major new vertical construction projects to achieve LEED certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is a building rating system that provides a suite of world-recognized standards for environmentally sustainable design, construction, and operation. The Better Denver sustainable development approach and the achievement of LEED certification for specific Better Denver projects are consistent with, and help to further the City’s Greenprint Denver 2012 Climate Action Plan.
The rating system promotes design and construction practices to reduce the negative environmental impacts of buildings, improve occupant health and well-being, and lower operating costs. The LEED method recognizes performance in five design categories of human and environmental health:
| 1. Sustainable site development
2. Water savings
3. Energy efficiency
4. Materials selection
5. Indoor environmental quality
LEED certification is only obtained through a rigorous, independent third-party commissioning and verification process. There are four certification levels for new construction - Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum - that correspond to the number of credits accrued in the five design categories of human and environmental health mentioned above. The LEED rating system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit coalition of building industry leaders. LEED standards cover new commercial construction and major renovation projects, interiors projects, existing building operations, commercial "core & shell" construction, new home construction, and neighborhood developments.
Examples of “Green Building” on Better Denver Projects
- Green Valley Ranch Branch Library: The 26,000 sq. ft. structure will use an under-floor air distribution system along with evaporative cooling and a “sensible energy recovery wheel” to condition outdoor air without mechanical refrigeration. Overall projected energy savings for the building operation is over $41,000 annually. This represents 66.8% in energy use savings and 63.7% in energy cost savings over standard construction practices. In addition, the project qualified for $21,000 in Xcel Energy cooling rebates.
The Green Valley Ranch Branch Library was designated to receive Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The Gold Certification award is based on the library's aggressive efforts to design, build and operate the facility in a sustainable way that helps to protect and enhance the environment. LEED measures how well a building performs across metrics of energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor air quality and stewardship of natural resources. Read more
- Central Park (Stapleton) Recreation Center: The building is working to achieve LEED Gold certification. A combination of daylight harvesting using skylights and Solatubes, high performance window glass, and solar shading will shed 70% of the solar heat gain and reduce room lighting demands. LED parking lot lighting will be installed to save 30% energy use. A 15 kW solar photovoltaic system that returns electricity back to the grid will be installed as a demonstration project. The natatorium will use a special heat distribution system as well as a pool cover on the lap pool to achieve 15-20% energy savings.
- City Park New Restroom: Using on-site renewable energy and passive mechanical strategies, the City’s first net-zero building has been completed. A solar chimney provides constant natural ventilation to the building and reduces utilization of the mechanical exhaust system. This prototype for future restrooms features 25% recycled content materials.
- Cherry Creek Branch Library: Renovations include new high efficient condensing boilers; new high efficient lighting; improved Building Automation System; recycled content, low-VOC carpet; low-VOC paint; FSC-certified millwork; on-demand water heaters; and low flow fixtures.
- Montbello Branch Library: Renovations include 7 Coolerado (HVAC-Type) units; new Building Automation System; new insulated skylights; new high efficiency lighting; recycled content, low-VOC carpet; low-VOC paint; low flow fixtures.
- Police Traffic Operations and Firing Range: Renovated a warehouse into office space and constructed a new Police Firearms Training Facility. The complex features reuse of an existing building on a compact, efficient site. Sustainability features include: 48% water savings against LEED criteria, tilt up walls with continuous insulation, high-efficiency boilers and water heaters, low-lighting density, and variable air volume roof top units.