Evergreen Terraces – Elicia Ratajczyk

by evstudio on December 14, 2017

Elicia Ratajczyk, LEED AP, a senior project designer with EVsutdio wrote the following piece for the REALTORS Commercial Alliance Report. EVS is both the architect and the LEED consultant for the project.

The Evergreen Terraces office building located in the heart of downtown Evergreen, Colorado is being designed and built as a high performance office building with sustainability in mind. Although ‘green’ is a word being thrown around quite liberally lately, there are specific determinations and measures that can certify and prove that a building has been designed as a high performance sustainable building and has true ‘greenness’ according to nationally accepted and criticized benchmarks. The Evergreen Terraces project is attempting to achieve a number of designated measures of sustainability benchmarks including a Silver Certification under the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Program for Core & Shell projects by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Federal Tax Deduction for Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and several of the Energy Conservation Rebates & Incentives available from Xcel Energy.

The building has a total square footage of 11,764 square feet which includes a covered parking structure under the building measuring approximately 3,800 square feet, and two levels of tenant space equaling approximately 8,000 square feet. Although many portions of the building and site as a whole include a number of sustainable strategies, the sustainability benchmarks for the project focus only on the Core & Shell portion of the project because of the speculative nature of tenant finish needs. There will be a Tenant Design Guideline included in the project that will be made available to the building tenants in order to inform them of the buildings green features and ways that they can utilize and build upon those features in the design of their spaces as well. Approximately 3,000 square feet of the buildings finished space is included in the Core & Shell portion of the project in addition to the garage portion (3,800 SF) for a total of approximately 6,800 square feet.

LEED-CS Silver Certification

The LEED program for certification of the Core & Shell includes sustainable measures and strategies for the building and site in it’s entirety that have a great many benefits for the people inhabiting the building, the building and it’s site and the surrounding community. The LEED Rating System is broken down into six overall categories in which credits are given to the project including Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation & Design. The Evergreen Terraces project is using a variety of strategies in all of these categories which will help to achieve a Silver Certification for the building:

  • Sustainable Sites: The building is located on what could be called a ‘challenging’ site which made sustainable design for the site not just a good idea, but necessary in order to protect the valuable resources of the community and area around the building during and after construction. Some of the important strategies used in the design of the site include:
    • Stormwater Design: Quantity and Quality Control
      • 100% of stormwater retained on-site
      • Filtering of stormwater to reduce any contaminants and prevent them from leaving the site
    • Heat Island Effect: Reducing the heat created by blacktop
      • 90%+ Covered parking under the building
    • Light Pollution Reduction:
      • Fixtures both on the site and within the building that prevent light pollution from leaving the site
  • Water Efficiency
    • Water Efficient Landscaping:
      • No potable water is being used for landscaping
      • Native plantings being used
    • Water Use Reduction:
      • A 30%+ reduction in water usage will be achieved in the building through the use of a water efficient system and fixtures in the building ($100+ savings per year)
  • Energy & Atmosphere
    • Commissioning (third party verification) of the buildings fundamental systems under operation will assure that the systems are calibrated correctly and are performing at the projected efficiencies to create actual energy savings
    • No CFC’s are used in the buildings fire suppression or HVAC systems so the building will not be contributing to ozone depletion.
    • The buildings energy usage has been optimized, modeled and designed to achieve at least a 14% reduction in energy use over a building designed to the minimum of code compliance. This has been achieved in the Evergreen Terraces project through strategies such as Daylighting and optimization of the HVAC system, lighting and thermal envelope. Some of these strategies include usage of a heat exchanger in the building, optimized energy management systems, usage of operable windows (people will accept a larger variation in heat if they feel they have control), usage of high performance HVAC equipment.
      • 14% reduction (as a min.) in energy usage could save over $1000 per year in energy bills for the Core & Shell portion of the project alone! (based on average costs and usage info provided by Xcel Energy)
    • Green Power – Some of the buildings energy will be produced on-site through the use of Solar Panels and a contract for the purchase of clean, renewable energy through the ‘Windsource’ program provided by Xcel Energy will provide power to the building
  • Materials & Resources
    • Designated areas for the storage and collection of recyclables, along with recycling pickup services will be provided at the building
    • The materials used in the construction and finish of the building contain a minimum of 10% recycled materials and a minimum of 20% regional materials that are extracted and manufactured less than 500 miles from the site. This reduces the impact of industrial manufacturing and transportation for the building materials overall and helps to put money into the local economy.
      • Example material: Concrete deck pavers consist of 85% post-consumer recycled material generated from the recycling of the concrete runways at the former Stapleton Airport into aggregate that is mixed with a small amount of new Portland cement to create new pavers – the pavers are also both extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the site for regional materials credits
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
    • The indoor environmental quality in the building has been improved upon the design of a typical commercial office building through a number of measures that contribute to the health and well-being of the occupants. These include strategies such as Daylighting, usage of operable windows and natural ventilation, use of low VOC materials in the building (paints, adhesives, sealants, carpet, etc.), and optimization of the thermal comfort and ventilation systems in the building.
  • Innovation & Design – This project could achieve some of the credits for innovation and design based on its exemplary education and outreach program, increased usage of regional materials and inclusion of an accredited sustainability consultant on the design team.

The Federal Tax Deduction and the Conservation Rebates & Incentives that are being attempted by the project are based on the energy efficiency portion of the green strategies employed in the design.

  • Federal Tax Deduction – There are several levels at which the Federal Tax Deduction for Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings can be achieved and result in anywhere from a $0.30 – $1.80 per square foot tax deduction in the year that the building is built. Although this is a one-time financial incentive, it can be quite substantial depending on the project parameters. The Evergreen Terraces project is attempting a 16 2/3% energy reduction which could achieve a tax deduction of $0.60 per square foot for the buildings developer equaling up to $7000.
  • Conservation Rebates & Incentives – A number of rebates and incentives are available through Xcel Energy for implementing strategies that will increase the energy efficiency of a commercial building. Some of the ones being attempted by the Evergreen Terraces project include the Solar Rewards Rebate for Photo Voltaic Systems, Custom Efficiency Rebates for equipment in the building and Lighting Efficiency Rebates.


The Evergreen Terraces office building is being designed, built, verified and certified as a high performance sustainable office building. It will be the first ‘green’ office building in Evergreen and among the first ‘green’ buildings in the entire Front Range. Achieving a LEED certification of the building along with the Federal Tax Deduction and the Xcel Conservation Rebates and Incentives will prove conclusively that the building performs as designed and is sustainably designed and built. The building will be a benefit to the community, the tenants, the users and the owner.

The decision to create a Green office building was based partially on the health and well-being benefits of the building and the benefit of a sustainable site & building to the community. These benefits alone can create a unique marketability for the building that stands above the rest of the market. The decision to ‘go green’, however, was also based on the substantial financial benefits attributable to the buildings energy efficiency and the tax deductions, rebates and incentives currently available for implementing sustainable strategies. Although there is a cost premium during the design and construction of a sustainable building which currently averages 2% – 5% of the construction costs (according to the U.S. Green Building Council), the financial incentives can offset and even provide returns over time on this initial added investment in the building. For the Evergreen Terraces project, these financial incentives could specifically add up to an annual water/energy savings of approximately $1,500 per year in addition to the initial $7000 Tax Deduction and the accumulative rebates and incentives that will be determined by Xcel Energy. The cost premium for the project could be calculated at approximately $25,000 (2%) which would be fully returned within 10 years of operation.

Originally posted 2008-06-02 12:56:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter


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