Getting It Done: Ent Center for the Arts Scores LEED Gold, Solar Windows Help

The University of Colorado, working with Semple Brown Design of Denver, has opened the University’s first purpose-built performing and visual arts center on its Colorado Springs campus. The 92,000-square-foot facility, which consolidates the Department of Visual and Performing Arts buildings previously housed in six venues across the campus, has achieved LEED certification at the Gold level. Overall, energy savings for certification purposes is 30%, the University says.

One of the elements of the sustainable and energy-efficient Ent Center for the Arts that helped it win LEED certification is the installation of 90 solar control, low-emissivity glass windows from Vitro Architectural Glass. With visible light transmittance of 51% and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.23 in a standard 1-inch insulating Solarban glass unit, the glass significantly limits the need for interior lighting and air-conditioning, two of the largest consumers of energy in commercial buildings such as the Ent Center, according to Vitro.

The glass panels were chosen by Semple Brown because the firm wanted a product that would allow for clear visibility to the exterior – especially important to the university because of its vast views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains – without too much tint in the glass. The firm also wanted the activities within the building to be apparent from the outside.

Bryan Schmidt, principal, AIA, LEED AP (building design and construction) with Semple Brown told Energy Manager Today more about the facility’s design:

  • It’s a little different than many projects of its size because of the number of dedicated air handlers (7 in total) associated with the performance venues inside. There is a 750 seat theatre, a 250 seat recital hall, a large black box theatre, and an art gallery that all have dedicated air handlers to address their specific criteria for noise and ventilation.
  • The acoustical nature of these spaces require significant amounts of air delivered at very low velocities through very large ducts, relative to many other types of spaces, resulting in fan energy impacts on the energy model.
  • The other three serve the lobby (one dedicated unit) and the other miscellaneous support spaces, offices, and classrooms.
  • The gallery has its own humidity control to maintain levels that are acceptable for the caliber of art they aspire to exhibit in the space and the relatively strict controls that many exhibits require. The gallery construction includes measures to help maintain humidity levels supplied by the mechanical systems.
  • The facility incorporates bipolar ionization, which guarantees reduced energy bills: the technology recycles conditioned, purified air, leading to less spend on heating and cooling ventilated air.
  • Improved energy conservation.
  • Architectural lighting fixtures are all LED and tied to daylight harvesting.
  • The gallery and performance venue’s performance lighting is LED except for the largest of theaters, which wasn’t quite ready to make the leap due to cost and performance limitations of current LED technology, but has the ability to integrate LED fixtures in the future.

Last fall, the University of Colorado Boulder announced that three of its buildings – those whose focus is largely on sustainability – were also granted LEED Gold certification. These brought the total number of CU Boulder LEED Gold or Platinum buildings to 21. The university says, in fact, that for all capital construction projects, including new and existing, the aim is for LEED Gold or better. Particular emphasis is on energy and water efficiency.

Pictured: Dance and movement studio, Ent Center for the Arts


Vendors mentioned above

Vitro Architectural Glass

Semple Brown Design

 

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