Colorado Springs Utilities lab achieves LEED Silver rating

The new Environmental Services Laboratory for Colorado Springs Utilities has achieved a LEED Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Designed by RNL of Denver and the City of Colorado Springs/Colorado Springs Utilities facilities department, the 48,500 square foot facility is home to about 45 employees...

Jul 22nd, 2005

DENVER, CO, July 20, 2005 -- The new Environmental Services Laboratory for Colorado Springs Utilities has achieved a LEED™ Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Designed by RNL of Denver and the City of Colorado Springs/Colorado Springs Utilities facilities department, the 48,500 square foot facility is home to approximately 45 employees.

The highly efficient laboratory and office spaces allows for continual analysis of chemical and biological factors in water. Lab personnel conduct an average of more than 365 tests a month to ensure a safe and high quality drinking water supply for the community.

The facility is an impressive example of architecture that integrates sustainability and meaningful design elements to create a healthy and pleasant workspace. Natural daylighting spills into a three-story light well that runs half the length of the 300-foot long axis. Material for the precast skin was locally acquired and manufactured, creating a face of natural beauty that provides structure and thermal protection.

The interior design is intended to be a metaphor of water purity. Symbols are incorporated throughout the interiors and finishes: Stacked patterns in the flooring tiles emulate aquifers; curved walls and glazing finishes replicate water flow; metal grillwork in the handrails represent filtration processes; and water bubble-inspired light diffusers hang over the light well, providing striking visual interest and a sense of scale to an area brings in daylight from three stories above.

"Sustainable design goals were analyzed in great detail to achieve a number of benefits", says RNL Associate Principal Tom Wuertz. "Daylighting creates healthier work environments and also results in wonderful architecture. And daylighting sensors help save energy, automatically turning lights off when they're not needed", Wuertz adds.

RNL's Director of Science and Technology, Philip Macey, served as RNL's in-house lab consultant and project architect. "Our experience in this particular kind of business helped us to combine functionality and quality workspace at a cost-effective price. We worked closely with the lab staff to make the functional requirements a seamless part of the design. That allows the lab workspace to be as inspiring and easy to be in as the office workspace," Macey says.

The new facility unites operations that previously took place at two separate sites. This removes duplicate functions, simplifies operations, and reduces overhead. The energy and water conservation measures at the new lab will save Springs Utilities and its customers almost $50,000 annually in utility costs.

RNL Design provided architecture, interior design, landscape design and entitlement services. Colorado Architectural Partnership provided construction documentation for the core and shell phase and also provided construction administration services. The project team also includes G.H. Phipps as the General Contractor; RMH as the mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineering and LEED consultant; HCDA for structural engineering; and Obering Worth as Civil Engineer.

RNL Design is an integrated full service architectural firm with offices in Denver, Los Angeles and Phoenix, serving clients locally, nationally and internationally. Since its inception in 1956, RNL has built its practice providing innovative design solutions to clients, surpassing their expectations and bringing ideas to life. RNL offers clients a continuum of design services, including architecture, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, and urban design and planning. For more information, visit www.rnldesign.com.

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