Fort Carson goes for gold
Photo courtesy of High Performance Buildings
The Fort Carson, Colo., Army post, established in 1942, has quietly hit LEED gold — and platinum — many times over.
Why are there so many LEED-certified buildings and projects in Fort Carson? With 82 buildings and 56 projects in all, including 40 silver, 39 gold and three platinum, the site is considered impressive from a sustainability perspective, reports High Performing Buildings.
The secret is competition.
“The Army didn’t make getting LEED-certified a requirement originally, it was just something to work toward,” said Brian Nohr, Army Corps of Engineers district sustainability coordinator. “It would have been enough to simply call it good and certifiable. However, once our contractors began to see how easy it was, they started competing among themselves to see who could outdo the other, and a kind of friendly competition resulted. That’s why we have so many certifications.” Today, half of all buildings certified at Fort Carson are gold or platinum.
One of those certifications is the Aviation Support Battalion (ASB) hangar. Nohr points out that Fort Carson’s other platinum LEED-certified buildings, the 47th Brigade Combat Team Brigade Battalion Headquarters (BBHQ) at the Wilderness Road Complex and its EAB Company Operations Facility/Warehouse unit office are also noteworthy:
Fort Carson’s 47th Brigade Combat Team Brigade Battalion Headquarters (BBHQ) at its Wilderness Road Complex has received LEED platinum certification, qualifying it as the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly building for the installation. A three-acre photovoltaic field provides 480 kW of electricity, enough to provide 62 percent of the buildings’ projected demand.
It reflects the role the U.S. military has played in recent years as a catalyst in sustainable design and construction. The mandates include requirements such as each branch developing 1 GW of renewable energy: Air Force by 2016, Navy by 2020 and the Army by 2025.
The Department of Defense will develop 3 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The project was created by the Denver office of Mortenson Construction and design-build partner RSP Architects. Like the Aviation Support Battalion hangar, the building was originally targeted for silver, and far surpassed that by attaining platinum certification at no additional cost to the government.
In addition to the photovoltaic field, other sustainable design features of the project include:
- A scalable lighting control system providing 22 percent savings in energy consumption from interior lighting including daylight controls, programmable lighting and more;
- A rooftop solar hot water system that provides more than 20 percent of the domestic hot water to the 27 showers and 550 full-time occupants;
- Extremely efficient building envelope, six times more resistant to air infiltration/exfiltration than required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ design specifications;
- More than 76 percent of construction waste recycled.
The facility received an Outstanding Construction Contractor Appraisal Support System rating from the U.S. Corps of Engineers Omaha district.
Like many of Fort Carson’s sustainability projects, its Echelons Above Brigade (EAB) Company Operations Facility started aiming for LEED silver and hit platinum. This 46,608-square-foot facility now accommodates three Army companies and serves approximately 500 soldiers.
The site originally housed WWII-era buildings that included tank and truck repair shops that leaked hazardous material into the soil, requiring remediation — including asbestos. However, the site’s location allowed for an Alternative Transportation LEED credit by providing public transportation access to existing bus routes.
Another interesting aspect of the project includes that the facility was designed in-house by the Army Corps of Engineers.
- First warehouse-type of building in Army to receive LEED platinum certification;
- Reuse of existing site; removed existing WW II-era buildings that were tank and truck repair shops, including cleaning soil of fuel and asbestos;
- Designed in-house by Army Corps of Engineers;
- Tied to existing transportation centers so it scored LEED points for connectivity to local functions.
Topics: Architectural Firms, Associations / Organizations, Building Owners and Managers, Certifications, Construction Firms, Military Buildings, Office Buildings, Sustainable Communities, Urban Planning and Design, USGBC
Companies: U.S. Green Building Council