Aspen ski resort again hits the green home run

Posted By: Steve Bellamy on December 15, 2009 1:00 pm

Aspen, the place where people go to be seen is also the place to go to be green.  Today Aspen Skiing Company announced that it had certified two new company buildings Sams Smokehouse and Holiday House at the highest levels of the U.S. Green Building Council’s rigorous, third-party certification standard, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The new restaurant at Snowmass, Sam’s Smokehouse achieved LEED Gold, and the Holiday House employee housing building in Aspen achieved LEED Platinum, the highest possible ranking under the system.
In 1999 Aspen Skiing Company developed one of the first LEED certified buildings in the world, the Sundeck restaurant on Aspen Mountain, as a “LEED pioneer,” and helped develop the LEED program, suggesting new credit additions and critiquing the system. In 2003 ASC certified the Snowmass Golf Clubhouse at the LEED Silver Level.
“These new buildings represent the pinnacle of ASC’s sustainable building work,” says David Corbin, VP of Planning for ASC.
Sam’s Smokehouse
Sam’s Smokehouse in Snowmass overcomes its exposed location high on the mountain to provide an energy efficient building by using structurally insulated panels (SIPS) with R-49 foam insulation on the roof and high-efficiency boilers and furnaces that are designed for high altitude use. Highly efficient plumbing fixtures including waterless urinals and a low maintenance landscaping plan are elements of an aggressive water strategy that is designed to reduce water use by 47 percent as compared to a conventional building. Additional building elements recognized by LEED include LED lights that radically cut lighting energy use, structural wood timbers that were sustainably harvested and extensive use of building materials featuring recycled content.
“Designing Sam’s to be an energy efficient building was only the first step. Our operations and design teams carefully analyzed actual energy use over the first year of operation and compared the results to our energy modeling simulations,” notes Project Manager Chris Kiley. “We realized that we didn’t have the building’s mechanical systems running optimally. But by troubleshooting the building with Resource Engineering Group (a Crested Butte based engineering firm that performed enhanced commissioning on the building), we were able to identify and implement numerous small changes that now have the building running properly. Our optimized mechanical system is projected to demonstrate a 26 percent energy cost savings relative to a conventionally designed building. This is a tribute to the LEED system—it helped us to get the best performance out of our new building.”  
Other Sam’s team members involved in the mechanical system adjustments included O’Bryan Architecture, RA Nelson Construction and MKK Engineering.

Holiday House
Holiday House, the only LEED Platinum multi-unit housing project in Colorado, used cutting edge technologies – like 96 percent efficient condensing boilers, super insulated foam panel walls and roof, R-11 gas filled windows, and heat recovery ventilators – to exceed energy codes by 50 percent. The employee housing units (housing up to 43 employees) feature recycled products and sustainably harvested wood for desks, chairs and bunkbeds.  Project manager for Holiday House was ASC’s Mark Vogele, who worked with Bill Boyd of ModSystemSB as general contractor.