Aspen Facility an Exposition of Sustainable Design Innovation
Aspen, Colorado — Wagner Park Edge Pavilion, a restroom structure in the heart of Aspen, began as a simple public facility, but, through public process, diligent research, and close collaboration throughout the design development process, it has become an exposition for how and why sustainable design not only works, but also works beautifully. Beaudin Ganze Consulting Engineers, Inc. (BGCE), the City of Aspen, Willis Pember Architects, Inc., the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE), and various system component manufacturers collaborated to produce a facility that moves beyond its basic function to highlight building technologies that contribute to sustainability and advance their acceptance in both form and function.
The community of Aspen took an active role in the design development process, which lasted two years, considered many concepts and designs, and eventually produced a unique facility that achieved the goal of innovative integration of the progressive concepts of sustainability. The original, open-trellis roof design evolved into PV panels by way of public forum suggestion to develop the project with sustainable design concepts. BGCE set out to research the possibilities, a task that took on a worldwide scope and included evaluation of over 30 different vendors for several different system components. Ultimately, due to aesthetics and power generation requirements, Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), an approach new to the U.S., was selected. This approach integrates panels into the building, as opposed to placing them proximately.
The energy harnessed by the PV system is used to power lighting, exhaust fans, water-feature pumps, and a domestic water heater. At its peak, the system produces 3 kilowatts of power, more than enough to power basic building operations during standard use.
The PV system, passive solar lighting and heating, and the various resource efficiency measures integrated within the design, provide real savings to the Owner/Public, as well as, conservation of resources. The excess energy produced by the PV system is supplied back to the local utility grid and credited to the Owner's account. Radiant floor heating, as opposed to forced air heating, provides occupant comfort at a lower temperature and requires relatively lower temperature water, which maximizes the boiler's thermal efficiency to 95%. Various water-saving features are projected to save 25% over conventional, low-flow fixtures.
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The building serves as the primary public restroom facility within the City of Aspen's downtown core and pedestrian mall. The location and frequency of use ideally position the facility to engage and educate the public about the benefits of renewable energy and the basic operation of photovoltaics. Two touch-screen computer kiosks integrated within the building façade allow the curious to explore the energy-efficient aspects of the building.
Wagner Park Edge Pavilion embodies the vision and expertise of community, designers, technical experts, and resource conservation advocates. It is not your everyday public facility, but rather an expression of the full potential a public project can achieve.