June 2, 2012

Project Spotlight: Engine House No. 5, Denver, CO.

Engine House No. 5 has been in use since it was built in 1922 for the Denver Fire Department, which continued to occupy the space for 87 years. In 2011 – following a renovation by Denver-based Slaterpaull Architects – the firehouse became the first LEED platinum historic building in Colorado, in part because it was redesigned to use only 45 percent of the energy that similar buildings consume.
“Energy efficient design is really where sustainability starts – HVAC, water, lighting – then you can talk about renewable energy, and so forth,” explains Jaime Pedler, President and CEO of Slaterpaull, which combines environmental responsibility with building preservation in its approach to sustainable design.  

By reviewing historic photos of the firehouse’s exterior, Slaterpaull was able to reconstruct the roof, windows, and doors by rehabilitating existing masonry and wood. For the interior, the firm converted the original locker room into a library (lockers still intact), and re-used the second floor’s original wood floors. The original staircase, a pulley system used for engine maintenance, and the pole hole (now encased in glass) are still a part of the building.

Also factoring into the design of the space: Thermal comfort, daylighting, views, and air quality (carpets, furniture, and paint).  Using natural light, shading devices and lighting sensors as much as possible also helped limit energy consumption. Energy efficiency was further advanced by using a photovoltaic system and  a displacement ventilation system combined with chilled beam technology. (Deciding to heat and cool with water instead of air added $100,000 to the construction cost.) In fact, the Colorado Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers earlier this spring awarded the project “Best Commercial Interior Design” from 7,000- to 15,000-square feet. 

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