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Car wash project earns Baratta CREW award

Entrepreneur Emilie Baratta has received CREW Denver's Step Up award, an honor recognizing her entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to the environment and efforts to make a difference with her real estate projects.

Gleam Car Wash at West 38th Avenue and Wolff Street is the latest project for Baratta, founding principal of Turnbuckle Development. Gleam is the greenest car wash in Colorado thanks to state-of-the-art water recycling programs and other energy efficiency investments, as well as a commitment to biodegradable chemicals. 

Gleam also practices socially aware employment strategies, seeking to hire cognitively impaired people and recent non-English-speaking refugees for up to 50 percent of its staff, giving them career development opportunities and not just a transient job.

"Emilie embodies everything the Step Up awards stand for," says Kim Duty, the 2017 president of CREW Denver. "As founding principal of her own real estate development firm, she's a role model to other women in commercial real estate. She's also making a real difference in the community by investing in the lives of her employees and our environment."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Denver is seventh-greenest city in U.S.

Denver ranks as the seventh-greenest city in the United States, according to a recent study by CBRE Group and Maastricht University.

The third annual Green Building Adoption Index study found that 46.6 percent of office space in metro Denver qualified as green certified, down from 48.7 percent last year when Denver ranked No. 6 on t he list.

San Francisco claimed the top spot with 73.7 percent of its space considered green, followed by Chicago at 72.3 percent and Minneapolis at 60.6 percent.

Green office buildings are defined as those that hold either an EPA Energy Star label or U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification or both.

"While the rate of growth in green buildings has slowed modestly, our latest study underscores that in most major markets, sustainable office space has become the new normal," says David Pogue, CBRE's global director of corporate responsibility.

Green certifications are now held by 11.8 percent of all buildings surveyed in the 30 largest U.S. markets, representing 40.2 percent of all office space. Both figures are slightly above last year's results, indicating that while green building is still occurring, the rate of adoption is slowing.

"This likely reflects the fact that only a certain fraction of the building stock can obtain a green or energy-efficiency certification," says Nils Kok, associate professor in finance and real estate at Maastricht University. "Additionally, we believe that some buildings that were previously certified did not renew their certification in 2015. This does not necessarily mean that the energy use of these buildings has changed but that some of the owners and managers may choose not to spend the time or expense to reapply for certification every year."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Triangle Building gets LEED Gold certification

East West Partners' most recently completed development The Triangle Building has been awarded LEED Gold certification.

The building received the majority of its LEED points for its core and shell construction, which covers base building elements such as structure, envelope and building-level systems, combined with LEED design elements for energy efficiency. 

"We are honored to be recognized with LEED Gold certification for a building that is one of the most distinctive in all of downtown Denver," says Chris Frampton, managing partner at East West. "The Triangle Building has brought innovation to the community, and we are thrilled that it is now recognized for being resource efficient and for reducing stress on the environment."

The 10-story office building incorporates innovative energy strategies and building techniques to maximize comfort and minimize waste. Storm water is captured and treated for use in the municipal system, allowing for 50 percent reduction in landscaping water use and 30 percent reduction in building water use. Oversized glass windows allow for plenty of sunshine and natural warmth, and the overall building construction fetures the most efficient combination of glass and metal to minimize energy usage.

Twenty percent of materials used on the project are recycled, with 10 percent of materials regionally sourced. Fifty percent of construction waste on the overall project was able to be recycled.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

New financing tool available for commercial building clean energy projects

New financing options for commercial property clean energy projects are available thanks to an intergovernmental agreement between the City and County of Denver and the Colorado New Energy Improvement District.

The agreement, adopted by the Denver City Council, allows Colorado's Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program to be offered within the City and County of Denver. C-PACE offers financing options for clean energy projects on both new projects and renovations of existing buildings.

"Commercial building operations account for the majority of our city's greenhouse gas emissions, so we're thrilled to offer a new tool that will not only reduce our carbon footprint but save property owners money," says Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. "Sustainable development is smart development, and we're now better positioned to encourage a built environment that leads Denver toward a more sustainable future."

Through C-PACE, city property owners and developers will be able to access a new financing tool to invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation improvements. The voluntary program lowers the cost of third-party financing, which is repaid through the property tax assessment process. A voluntary assessment on the building owner's property tax bill can provide long-term financing of up to 20 years and stays with the property at the time of the sale, removing traditional barriers to financing projects with payback cycles longer than two to three years.

New commercial construction projects that meet building code requirements are eligible for C-PACE at up to 15 percent of construction costs. The program also makes available an additional 5 percent of construction costs for new buildings to be financed if project teams improve the performance of their buildings 5 percent beyond what the code requires.

"Denver's implementation of this program, as well as the changes to our building code, will go a long way toward increasing our community's energy security for generations to come," says Jerry Tinianow, Denver's chief sustainability officer. "Efforts to make commercial properties more efficient help the city to achieve its 2020 Sustainability Goals for energy and climate while lowering operating costs and supporting the local economy."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Union Station gets LEED certification

Denver Union Station has been awarded LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Union Station earned points for implementing a variety of green initiatives, including:
  • Development density and community connectivity
  • Building reuse -- more than 90 percent of the historic building's existing structural elements were reused, including the original floors, walls and roof
  • Providing easy access to public transportation, including the Regional Transportation District's new University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport and B Line to Westminster
  • Diverting more than 50 percent of construction waste from landfills
  • Using low-emitting paints and flooring materials
  • Using regionally manufactured materials whenever possible
  • Remediating asbestos contamination

"The Union Station Alliance was dedicated to redeveloping this historic gem of a building in as an environmentally friendly manner as possible," says Ferd Belz, a partner in Denver Union Station. "We're continuing to roll out exciting new green programs like the rooftop urban beekeeping initiative and the Clear Intentions Glass Valet recycling program."

Earlier this summer, Denver Union Station unveiled an urban beekeeping program on its roof, with four hives holding more than 30,000 honeybees. Restaurant and retail outlets within the station plan to incorporate the harvested honey into their food and drink offerings later this summer.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Beehives installed on Union Station roof

Denver Union Station is buzzing with activity -- not only from transit passengers and diners, but now from the recently installed rooftop honeybee colonies.

The four hives are home to about 5,000 to 10,000 honeybees each. Union Station's restaurants and retail outlets plan to start incorporating the harvested honey into their food and drink offerings later this summer.

"Urban beekeeping is a surprisingly successful phenomenon," says Denver Union Station beekeeper Caitlin Rose Kenney. "If the honeybees' basic needs are met, they are inspiringly resourceful and productive. The Denver Union Station's bees are a perfect example of this and are thriving this season."

Denver Union Station has become downtown Denver's hottest gathering place since it reopened in July 2014 after a $54 million renovation. The historic landmark train station is home to an eclectic mix of 12 Colorado restaurants and retail outlets created by Colorado-based Larimer Associates. 

"We are dedicated to supporting local businesses at Denver Union Station and to be as sustainable as possible, so installing beehives on the roof seemed like an obvious idea," says Joe Vostrejs, partner at Larimer Associates and a member of the Union Station redevelopment team. "We are pleased to be a part of the urban agriculture movement."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Denver adopts new building code

The adoption of a new building code that's in line with the latest building safety and energy-efficiency standards worldwide means buildings in Denver will be safer and more energy-efficient. 

New buildings in Denver are expected to be up to 25 percent more energy-efficient. The code also will make it easier to renovate, repair and alter existing buildings, which could mean keeping more existing building stock, ultimately a more sustainable approach. 

The city adopted the 2015 International Code Council codes for building safety with Denver-specific amendments:
  • Garages at new single-family and duplex homes must include a conduit and panel capacity to support charging an electric car.
  • The code requires garages and accessory buildings to be on the same electric meter as the primary residence for firefighter safety and to deter the illegal rental of these buildings for marijuana cultivation by an offsite party.
"Embracing best practices in safety, quality and sustainability is a long-term commitment to our city and its future," says Brad Buchanan, executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development. "Through and open and collaborative review process, design and construction professionals, property owners and code officials reached consensus on standards that will serve us well for years to come."

There will be a six-month transition period during which customers may apply for building permits under the 2011 Building Code or the new code.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Colorado ranks No. 5 in nation for LEED certification

Colorado ranks fifth in the nation for LEED certification with 12.2 million square feet of space in 95 projects certified in 2015.

That translates 2.43 square feet of LEED-certified space per capita. The U.S. Green Building Council calculates the list using per-capita figures as a measure of the human element of green building. The method allows for fair comparisons among states with significant differences in population and number of buildings.

LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water resources, save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

"Colorado is a nationwide leader in green building and LEED certification," says Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. "LEED has become an essential standard for the transformation of building design and construction. LEED-certified buildings drive economic growth, create jobs and ma communities healthier."

Among the notable projects that were certified in Colorado in 2015 are: 
  • Republic Plaza in Denver, LEED Gold
  • Granite Tower in Denver, LEED Gold
  • Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility in Denver, LEED Gold
  • North Colorado Springs Readiness Center in Colorado Springs, LEED Platinum
  • Laurel Village Residence Halls (LEED Gold and Laurel Village Pavilion (LEED Platinum) at Colorado State University
  • Pueblo County Judicial Center, LEED Silver
  • City of Boulder Fire Station 8, LEED Silver
The states topping Colorado on the list are Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Washington.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Green Building Council predicts surge in green building for 2016

The U.S. Green Building Council's Colorado chapter is predicting a major surge in green building for 2016.

Coming off a banner year in the construction industry where the chapter saw 127 LEED certifications this year, the USGBC saw attendance at its signature event Rocky Mountain Green increase by nearly 25 percent.

"Colorado has always shown tremendous support for green building," says Patti Mason, executive director of USGBC Colorado. "What stands out in 2015 is the diversity of LEED-certified projects. From affordable housing developers earning LEED for Neighborhood Development certification to schools in rural Colorado earning a community's first LEED plaque, we have seen a rich diversity of projects that is unmatched in previous years."

The USGBC Colorado predictions for 2016 include:
  • Greater accessibility to green living for residents in low-income housing. The Denver Housing Authority's longstanding commitment to renewable energy, green building and healthy living will serve as a model for others working on Colorado's housing shortage.
  • Repurposing industrial buildings and building more condominiums. With Denver's land values appreciating more than 100 percent in the last two years, the 2015 trend was adapative reuse. 2016 will see more of the same, with adaptive reuse being an option to meet the housing demand in Denver.
  • Schools shift toward the 21st century. Schools will look for creative ways to shift existing and new schools toward an environment appropriate for 21st century learning.  With 11 new LEED-certified schools in Colorado in 2015, the green schools movement is on the rise.
Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Recycling center opens in Overland

SustainAbility has opened its second public recycling drop-off center in Denver. 

The center, located at 1270 S. Bannock St., is the first Hard-To-Recycle (H2R) center in the Denver area. It accepts traditional recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, metal and glass but also takes a range of non-traditional materials, such as fire extinguishers, Styrofoam, bubble wrap, wine corks, CDs, vegetable oil, books, paint, bikes and clothing. 

"H2R centers are incredibly important for communities that care about sustainability because they offer people the opportunity to recycle dozens of unusual items that would normally be landfilled," says Rachel Nathan, the company's sustainability director. "We have found ethical recycling solutions for all of these items, and we are working every day to add more to the list."

A majority of SustainAbility's workforce is make of of people who have developmental or intellectual disabilities. The new center will have a total of 31 employees, 25 of whom have developmental or intellectual disabilities. 

"Our mission is not only to be an innovative leader in the recycling world, but also to employ individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities," Nathan says. "We truly believe that just because someone has been given the label of a disability, if you find what that person is good at, they are better at it than most."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Green Valley Ranch joins Denver's sustainability movemement

Green Valley Ranch has been selected by the Denver Department of Environmental Health to participate in the Sustainable Neighborhoods Program.

It's the sixth neighborhood to join the program, which also includes Barnum, Chaffee Park-Regis, North City Park, Villa Park and West Colfax.

Green Valley Ranch's focus will be on water efficiency, increasing recycling, healthy food access, anti-idling and youth. Planned efforts include:
  • Encouraging the use of rainwater sensors on sprinkler systems to reduced water use
  • Promoting recycling by organizing Green Days, an event featuring appliance and electronics recycling and clothing donation
  • Hosting gardening workshops and teaching food preservation
  • Organizing an anti-idling campaign and educating high school drivers on safety
  • Increasing the number of community volunteers for after-school and summer programs
The Sustainable Neighborhoods Program is designed to help neighborhoods increase and strengthen their sustainability efforts. Participating neighborhoods receive in-kind support from the city in the form of outreach materials, printing, venue fees, food and staff time to assist with outreach and project development.

Applications are solicited twice a year from registered neighborhood organizations. Up to two are chosen each round based on their ability to implement a variety of projects tied to the program's five focus areas: air, land, energy, water and people.

Participating neighborhoods earn credits for achieving sustainability goals by completing projects such as offering xeriscaping workshops, holding work days at a local community garden, installing artwork in neighborhood alleys or encouraging neighbors to commit to making their homes more energy efficient. 

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Alliance Center adopts energy monitoring system

The Alliance Center will begin using a building performance monitoring and scoring platform early this year in an effort to change energy consumption behavior, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money.

The LEED Dynamic Plaque empowers landlords, tenants and guests to view energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience on an ongoing basis through electronic display screens located in buildings.

In collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council, data from The Alliance Center will upload to an online system that generates an up-to-the-minute LEED performance score. The score will allow building users to see how their actions impact the surrounding environment.

"The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado is leading the charge to implement and teach others about best sustainability practices," says Anna Zawisza, executive director of The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, which owns and operates The Alliance Center. "The LEED Dynamic Plaque will give us timely data and our building occupants information to change behaviors surrounding resource usage."

Buildings in other areas of the country are seeing significant results using the LEED Dynamic Plaque. For example, after using the system for a year, the U.S. Green Building Council experienced a 30 percent decrease in energy consumption, resulting in a savings of about $40,000.

"We are hopeful that this technology will educate our tenants and guests about their energy usage, reduce our building's carbon footprint and save money," Zawisza says.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

New Town Builders wins housing innovation award

The U.S. Department of Energy has named New Town Builders the winner of its highest housing innovation award, recognizing the sustainable production builder as the standard bearer for zero energy ready homes. 

It's the second consecutive year Denver-based New Town has received the Zero Energy Ready Home Grand Award. the builder was selected as the winner from seven finalists and innovation award winners in the Production Builder Awards category. Zero energy ready homes must meet rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health and durability.

The best building scientists in the world judge these awards," New Town CEO Gene Myers says. "For New Town to receive the Grand AWard for two consecutive years affirms our team's hard work and commitment and places New Town among the best in both environmental science and design."

Judges examine a number of factors, including indoor air quality, water conservation and durability. 

"Zero Energy Ready Homes are the future for U.S. housing, and we need builders like New Town to get us there," says Sam Rashkin, chief architect for the Department of Energy's building technologies office. "We know that Zero Energy homes provide a vastly superior consumer experience at lower ownership cost -- and an experience that all Americans should want in their next new home."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Downtown Denver Partnership seeks nominations for awards

The Downtown Denver Partnership is seeking nominations for the 54th Annual Downtown Denver Awards to celebrate the accomplishments that have transformed the center city over the last year.

Submissions should represent a center city business, organization, event or project that was completed this year and has made a significant contribution resulting in a positive impact on downtown Denver, while supporting the 2007 Downtown Area Plan. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 21. 

"It's incredibly important for communities to celebrate their successes," says Tami Door, president and chief executive of the Downtown Denver Partnership. "It allows us to reflect on possibility and reinforce confidence that together we can to big things that move the city forward. Let's always reflect what we have done in the past to inspire what we can do in the future and to celebrate the milestones."

Winners will be announced May 21 at the 54th Annual Awards Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center. The black tie event is attended by more than 800 of the city's business and civic leaders.

The lengthy list of winners over the last 53 years has included standout high rises that contribute to a livable environment to infrastructure breakthroughs that move downtown Denver forward. Award winners have included Cadence Union Station, a 219-unit LEED Gold apartment building; the Denver Car Share Permit Program;  and the Metropolitan State University Denver Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Forum to explore sustainability

The U.S. Green Building Council Colorado will host a discussion with developers and property owners to analyze the critical elements of green building at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 13 in the newly renovated Great Hall at The Crawford Hotel at Denver Union Station.

"The current international focus on the Union Station neighborhood project is evidence of the broad and growing interest in creating socially minded and sustainably focused public-private partnerships," says Sharon Alton, Executive Director of the organization. "Much of the success of the Union Station project is rooted in the business case for sustainable design, and as such, it presents a unique case study for green building from which other communities, developers and owners across our state can benefit."

Forum speakers will include Steve Byers, CEO, EnergyLogic; Rob Cohen, CEO, The IMA Financial Group; Matt Mahoney, President, BuildMark; Jim McGibney, President, First Century Development; Trae Rigby, Director of Commercial Development, McWhinney; and Gordy Stofer, Director, Hines. The event will be moderated by Carissa Sawyer, Energy Engineer, EnergyLogic.

Click here for more information and to register.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

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