2006 Best Light CommErcial
Boulder County Administration Building: Longmont, Colo.
- Project Name: Boulder County Parks and Open Space Administration Building
- Location: Longmont, Colo.
- Total building size: 21,000 sq. ft
- Cost: $3.9 million
- Project Start-to-Finish Time: 570 days
- ICF Block: Arxx
- Owner: Boulder County
- Architect: Boulder County
- General Contractor: Boulder County
- ICF Installer: Boulder County
Top honors in the Light Commercial division go to the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Administration Building. The building is not only one of the “greenest” around, but it was designed, engineered and built by Boulder County employees. For most of them, it their first experience with insulating concrete forms.
The building is located adjacent to an airport runway, so it was important to have exterior walls that would minimize the noise. The desire to construct a “green building” was another factor that contributed to Boulder County choosing ICFs since Colorado is a state that is at the forefront in the area of green building initiatives. Arxx ICFs appealed to the County since they are a partially recycled product.
“In the initial design, a steel frame was considered for this project,” writes Mark Schneider, a former marketing manager at Arxx. “However, a building framed from steel could not provide the benefits of sound isolation and long-term energy savings desired by Boulder County.” Schneider notes that during the construction phase, steel prices skyrocketed, while ICF pricing remained stable.
County employees installed the ICF walls on this project. Schneider notes that the building is a large and complex design, with walls on the second story supported by huge steel headers. Thanks to some excellent training and strong assistance from the Arxx regional manager, the crew soon became very proficient.
While the main building was still under construction, county officials realized it would not be large enough to house the rapidly growing department, so an ICF addition was begun on the building in January 2006. The now-experienced crew was able to stack those walls without any problems.
Likewise, the county should also experience labor savings on all future ICF projects.
In addition to ICF exterior walls, the Boulder County Parks building incorporates several other examples of innovative “green building” technology.
For instance, the building is heated with water from a central heating plant equipped with boiler that burns wood chips from forest thinning. It uses state-of-the-art energy management and variable-speed water pumping to reduce energy costs while improving occupant comfort.
The roof insulation has an R-value of 30, and deep roof overhangs shade windows made of one-inch-thick tinted glass. Inside, occupancy sensors, dimming switches, T-8 bulbs, and electronic ballasts reduce lighting energy costs.
For it’s sustainable design, constriction considerations, and outstanding design features, The ICF Builder Awards are pleased to name the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Administration Building “Best Light Commercial Project 2006.”