CU Boulder recreation center project earns LEED Platinum status

The updated recreation center is projected to have an energy use intensity of 35kBtu per square foot per year, representing more than a 70 percent decrease in energy use on a per-sf basis compared to before the renovation. Photo: Hendrich Blessing Photography

Saunders Construction announced that LEED Platinum certification was achieved for the design and construction of the University of Colorado Boulder Recreation Center.

Saunders has 43 completed projects that have achieved LEED certification – four of which achieved LEED Platinum, the highest level in the certification program of the U.S. Green Building Council.

“For this particular project, the university understood that in order to continue attracting students, as well as satisfy the needs of current students, this rec center had to be anything but average,” said Mike Pask, construction manager for Saunders Construction. “The result was the completion of one of the most energy-efficient and cutting-edge student recreation facilities in the country.”

The project entailed a renovation of the existing 215,000-square-foot recreation center and an addition of 93,000 sf. The updated recreation center provides CU Boulder students with expanded weight and cardio space; a new ice rink with stadium seating and overhead LED lighting; a new three-story rock climbing gym with bouldering wall; an outdoor aquatics facility; a new indoor turf gym; four lighted rooftop tennis courts; a new entrance/ lobby; and renovated indoor pools, gyms and locker rooms.

The team, including Davis Partnership Architects, Cannon Design and The RMH Group, designed an innovative heat recovery loop, which allows excess heat from a multitude of sources to be moved around the building to where it is most needed (e.g., swimming pools, domestic hot water). Evaporative cooling, heat recovery, thermal displacement ventilation, radiant slab heating and daylight harvesting are among the many other techniques enhancing the building’s energy profile. The design of the cooling system did not use chillers or cooling towers as direct/indirect evaporative cooling is the primary cooling source. Solar collector panels are used to heat the domestic water and provide backup heating water.

Saunders was responsible for ensuring that construction was completed in an efficient manner as to achieve LEED Platinum certification, while bearing in mind project budget, schedule and scope.

The updated recreation center is projected to have an energy use intensity of 35kBtu per square foot per year, representing more than a 70 percent decrease in energy use on a per-sf basis compared to before the renovation. The facility is also projected to realize an energy cost savings of 43 percent (approximately $300,000 annually) when compared to a baseline standard building.

Featured in CREJ’s Nov. 2-15, 2016, issue

Edited by the Colorado Real Estate Journal staff.