Brooks + Scarpa | Colorado Court
The project has been instrumental in changing regulations and policies to facilitate energy-efficient design. Sustainable development is much more than just environmentally friendly development. It incorporates social and economic goals with smart land-use planning. Colorado Court has pushed the envelope technologically, politically, socially, and environmentally. In addition the project brings quality design to the affordable-housing market that has just begun to explore the potential for fully integrated solutions where quality design, environmental and social responsibility, economic success, and urban development can synergistic-ally intermingle to produce rewarding effects.
Colorado Court is making an impact on a tangible local level by thoughtfully solving discrete problems in a specific urban context and by affecting public policy at both the local and state levels.Construction was anticipated to take twelve months. Actual construction lasted fifteen months due to many innovations and experimental applications and programs. Inspectors were not familiar with the solar system, co-generation system, and many materials associated with green building, therefore causing delays. The service planner for Southern California Edison informed us during the middle of construction that we were ineligible for net-metering after they helped to design the system. We are currently working with Edison, our state assembly person, the public utilities commission and the city of Santa Monica to find a resolution.
Colorado Court is one of the first buildings of its type in the United States that is 100% energy independent. Colorado Court distinguishes itself from most conventionally developed projects in that it incorporates energy efficient measures that exceed standard practice, optimize building performance, and ensure reduced energy use during all phases of construction and occupancy. The planning and design of Colorado Court emerged from close consideration and employment of passive solar design strategies. These strategies include: locating and orienting the building to control solar cooling loads; shaping and orienting the building for exposure to prevailing winds; shaping the building to induce buoyancy for natural ventilation; designing windows to maximize day lighting; shading south facing windows and minimizing west-facing glazing; designing windows to maximize natural ventilation; shaping and planning the interior to enhance daylight and natural air flow distribution.
Colorado Court features several state of the art technologies that distinguish it as a model demonstration building of sustainable energy supply and utilization. These technologies include a natural gas powered turbine/heat recovery system that generate the base electrical load and hot water demands for the building and a solar electric panel system integrated into the facade and roof of the building that supply most of the peak load electricity demand. The co-generation system converts utility natural gas to electricity to meet the base load power needs of the building and captures waste heat to produce hot water for the building throughout the year as well as space heating needs in the winter.
This system has a conversion efficiency of natural gas in excess of 85% compared to a less than 30% conversion efficiency of primary energy delivered by the utility grid at the building site. The solar photovoltaic system produces green electricity at the building site that releases no pollutants to the environment. The panels are integral to the building envelope and unused solar electricity is delivered to the grid during the daytime and retrieved from the grid at night as needed. These systems will pay for themselves in less than ten years and annual savings in electricity and natural gas bills are estimated to be in excess of $6000.
• Concrete Masonry Unit: structural walls @ ground level
• Building Wall Insulation System: Walls meet R23 value- plaster finish with blown-in recycled insulation.
• Roofing/Insulation System: High density foam insulation and high performance SBS modified bitumen membrane roofing
• State-of-the-art solar photovoltaic integrated wall panel system
• Glazing: High Efficiency Dual Glazing (“low-e”)
Exterior Finishes: Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) face block, recycled light gauge steel, galvanized sheet metal
Land Use & Community
Colorado Court provides high-quality, sustainable housing to extremely low-income residents in the City of Santa Monica who would otherwise be forced out of the community due to high costs of living and a shortage of affordable housing. The City of Santa Monica, the client, and the architect are attempting to maintain socioeconomic diversity in this highly desirable beach community that has an accelerating cost of living. The building includes a bike-storage room to promote alternate transportation. Over 20% of the units at Colorado Court are maintained as special-needs housing and thus the project also benefits low-income individuals with mental, physical, or other disabilities.
The program for this single resident occupancy housing project includes:
• 44 single resident occupancy units (375 square feet max per unit)
• Community Room
• Mail Room
• Outdoor common courtyard spaces @ ground level and 2nd level
• On-grade covered parking for 20 cars
• Bike Storage
Location: Santa Monica, California, USA Architect: Brooks + Scarpa
Client/Owner: Community Corporation of Santa Monica
Total Square Footage: 30,150 square feet
Cost: 5,200,000.00 $
Awards: 2003 National AIA Design Award, 2003 AIACC Award, 2003 AIA/LA Award, 2003 Rudy Bruner Prize, 2003 World Habitat Award Finalist, 2003 AIA COTE “Top Ten Green Building” Award, 2003 AIA PIA National Housing Award, SCANPH “Project of the Year”, 2002 Westside Urban Prize, LEEDTM “Gold” Certified. Published in over 100 journals and books.
Project Team: Lawrence Scarpa, AIA – Principal- in-Charge, Angela Brooks, AIA – Project Architect, Gwynne Pugh, AIA, Anne Marie Burke, Heather Duncan, Vanessa Hardy, Bettina Hermsen, Tim Peterson, Ching Luk, Jackson Butler, Steve Kodama, FAIA
Project Energy Engineer: Dr. John G. Ingersoll of Helios International Inc.– Energy Efficiency Measures, and Distributed Power Generation – Solar PV Power and Co-Generation – for Sustainable Development in the Built Environment.
Structural Engineering: Youssef Associates
Mechanical Electrical Plumbing Engineering: Storms and Lowe