Brendle Group Building Wins Green Design Award

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Project shows cost-effective, deep green renovation is replicable for other businesses.

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No concept was too big or too small to be considered in the search for optimizing quality and minimizing negative environmental impact.

Fort Collins-based engineering and sustainability consulting firm, Brendle Group, has been awarded the City of Fort Collins 2011 Urban Design Award in the Green Design category. The award, which recognizes outstanding green building design and renovation projects, showcases Brendle Group’s successful and innovative deep green renovation of its new headquarters at 212 West Mulberry in Fort Collins.

Brendle Group partnered with commercial project developer Everitt-MacMillan in 2010 to acquire and renovate the award-winning building, which was initially constructed in 1985 and was the first known commercial building in Colorado to utilize solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. With support from the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority and several project partners including general contractor Dohn Construction and designer Sherman Design, the project breathes new life and innovations into the building, incorporating multiple renewable energy technologies, lighting and energy efficiency upgrades, improvements to the mechanical systems, and salvaged and recycled materials.

Project architect Greg Fisher commented, “Working with Brendle Group and their commitment to the project and to sustainability was a truly meaningful experience. No concept was too big or too small to be considered in the search for optimizing quality and minimizing negative environmental impact.”

The building, which is also in the process of being certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, represents a key aspect of green building, focusing on building re-use instead of new construction. Modeled to be 70 percent more energy efficient than a typical office building in the region, the renovated building is outperforming expectations, with over 75 percent greater energy efficiency. It showcases three commercially available solar PV solutions tied together in parallel with a single inverter, creating a PV “mini-lab” that allows for data collection, research, and streaming of real-time energy production to a display in the building’s lobby. The building’s solar energy production – which is averaging nearly 30% of total electricity consumption – helps offset its electricity costs, while an energy management system allows for energy loads to be remotely turned off during times of peak energy use, which could result in significant cost savings if applied elsewhere in Fort Collins and beyond.

Overall, says Brendle Group President Judy Dorsey, the project is a cost-effective model for how other small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from deep green renovation and design projects. “Although we’ve been consulting in the green building field for 15 years, the chance to be our own customer has given us a unique perspective and more applied experience to help other businesses reach their green building goals”, says Dorsey. “On a modest budget and short schedule, we proved that deep green can be done and isn’t cost prohibitive for small businesses.” The company has already hosted building tours for nearly 500 individuals including representatives from international cleantech organizations, federal agencies, the green building community, the education sector, and others to show how the project can be replicated.

For more information about the project, visit http://www.brendlegroup.com/ourhome.

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Dave Wortman
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