The Leader Magazine

JUN 2018

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temperature range. Workstations are positioned away from cooler glass surfaces and exposed concrete floors along the windows capture passive solar heat. BioPCM in the walls and light shelves regulate temperature and – even with an expanded temperature setpoint range – allow the building to maintain a relatively constant and comfortable temperature despite variable conditions outdoors. In the warmer months, ceiling fans create air flow and operable windows allow cross-ventilation in the open plan office, while operable exterior venetian blinds on the south- and west-facing windows control solar gain. At the individual scale, all employees have first-generation "hyperchairs" with radiant heating and convective cooling elements, which can be personalized to occupant preference via a smartphone app, as well as small fans that connect to USB laptops. These innovations help maintain a comfortable internal environment for an entire year, achieving the 99th percentile in occupant comfort in post-occupancy surveys. Resolved: complex problems The Innovation Center was conceived to deliver maximum benefit with minimum resources. The design team identified single, elegant answers to multiple complex problem, an approach known as Factor Ten Engineering (10xE). For example, the glulam and cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure helps create a 100-year building that reduces the impact of embodied carbon and simultaneously permits a cavity between spanning CLT panels, allowing integration of DOAS ventilation and electrical and IT infrastructure. At the same time, it reduces the height of the building by 14 inches – along with the cost of the associated envelope – while maintaining superior daylight penetration. The Innovation Center also achieves impressive water efficiency given its region, simultaneously reducing overall energy use. While Colorado state law currently prohibits on-site rainwater retention, the building is designed to achieve net-zero, non-potable water as laws change. Subtle butterfly roofs capture stormwater and channel it to a water feature on the southern edge of the building atrium; it is then filtered and channeled to Old Pond, where water rights are owned by the town of Basalt. Separate plumbing lines were installed so the Innovation Center can be one of the first commercial buildings in Colorado to use non-potable supply for toilets when state regulatory requirements are finalized. Other efficient systems include windows that automatically open to draw in cool nighttime air during the warmer months and distributed electric radiant mats that provide heat on the coldest days. The 83kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system captures energy from the roughly 242 sunny days Basalt enjoys every year and creates enough excess energy to charge six electric vehicles in on-site charging stations. Reprioritized: renewables While the team started the project by calculating the available energy that could be generated on-site and used this as a total energy budget, the renewable energy sources were the final component to push building performance over the finish line. The roof-mounted PV array generates enough energy to meet the building's needs and more, as the building produces 146 percent more energy than it uses annually. In fact, the measured performance of the Innovation Center confirms that a project nearly twice as tall could still achieve NZE status and still contain all required PV on the same roof area. Redesigned: team incentives The team travelled into uncharted territory to achieve a building with minimal systems, but every member – owner, architect, engineer and construction crew – was passionate about illustrating the possibilities of NZE design. To maximize innovation and manage costs in this remote and expensive region, the team agreed on a three-party, integrated-project- delivery contract, with the owner, contractor, key design team members and subcontractors all sharing in the project's financial performance. Delivery under this contract meant that any project cost overruns would be funded with team members' profits, while savings would be shared amongst the participants, including the owner. This model radically adjusts traditional motivations and requires collaborative behavior to achieve overall project savings. Keys to success for this process included a project team training to set ground rules for the working relationship, and focused onboarding of new team members to assure the project goals were clear to everyone. Result: net positive Just over two years from its opening date and already halfway to its projected four-year payback for the marginal extra cost associated with NZE, the Innovation Center's performance is exceeding all established benchmarks. The building was designed to meet RMI's criterion of a maximum energy consumption of 19 kBtu per square foot (59.9 kW per sq. m.) with materials commercially available on the market – before exploring and maximizing renewable energy systems. That figure was updated to 17.2 kBtu during the design phase, when energy models indicated that energy use would be lower than targeted. Based on data from the first year of occupancy, the energy use has turned out to be even lower: 13.6k kBtu per square foot (42.9 kW per sq. m.). According to a year-one occupant survey that RMI administered to its employees, occupants have embraced the building. Eighty-eight percent say they are either satisfied, somewhat satisfied, or very satisfied with thermal comfort in the Innovation Center. A full 100 percent say they are either satisfied or very satisfied with the building's daylighting and LED illumination. Seventy-four percent say they are more productive in the office, and 78 percent say they tend to spend more time working in the building because they like the space. RMI's vision for this project – like its overall work – is to develop and prove innovative solutions that can transform the world. They assembled a team willing to push themselves, and the industry, to not only deliver a successful project, but to actively work post-occupancy to analyze performance and share these lessons worldwide. With 90 percent of U.S. commercial projects similar in scale, the project demonstrates a replicable, financially viable model for a high-performance NZE office that delivers a superior interior environment. In support of RMI's mission to demonstrate NZE's feasibility, the Innovation Center shares its performance data, establishing industry performance benchmarks and demonstrating short- and long-term payoffs for investments in energy efficiency. The next step in the NZE path is to drive this knowledge into the design and construction of an increasing number of projects at an ever-increasing scale. A partner at ZGF Architects, LLP, Kathy Shaloo Berg, AIA, LEED AP® BD+C, has led teams from programming through construction for a broad range of buildings, including mixed-use developments, corporate offices, residential projects, and museums. F E A T U R E A R T I C L E 16 June 2018 the leader

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