Pushing the Boundaries of Sustainable Building Standards with Denver’s 3083 Walnut Project
rendering of 3083 Walnut Street office building in Denver

In the pursuit of sustainable construction, 3083 Walnut stands out as a beacon of efficiency. Denver’s new 65,000 sq. ft., mixed-use building surpasses green building ordinance requirements by an impressive 36 percent. This is the result of a meticulous approach to design and construction, incorporating innovative systems that redefine the standards of energy efficiency. 

Community Contributions 

Jon Bonkoski, senior project manager at Mortenson says, “There’s so much depth to the design of this project than initially meets the eye. The building itself is intended to blend in with the existing industrial aesthetic of the neighborhood and will feature murals painted by local Colorado artists. It’s a great combination showcasing both Mortenson’s history in Denver and where we’re headed as a company and as an industry.” 

IEC Compliance 

The building's glazing system, designed with a lower solar heat gain value, minimizes the impact of external heat, reducing the need for excessive cooling. Lighting plays a pivotal role, with a low lighting design strategy coupled with a heavy focus on Tenant Improvement (TI) spaces. These measures collectively contribute to a glazing system that surpasses the 20% efficiency threshold set by the International Energy Code (IEC) in 2018. 

Mechanical Systems Revolution 

The mechanical systems in place are a testament to cutting-edge technology. The building incorporates a Dedicated Outside Air System (DOAS) and an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) system. The DOAS heat pump provides ventilation, while the Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems handle heating and cooling.  

“The inclusion of ERV systems allows the building to maximize efficiency by capitalizing on waste heat—which is heat produced by machine operations that are then released back into the environment,” says Elizabeth Erfling, senior project manager at Mortenson. “In a heating-dominated environment, the cooling efficiency of the HVAC system is notably high, contributing to the overall effectiveness of the building's environmental control.” 

Whole Design Electric Advancements 

The building's commitment to sustainability extends to its electric design. By eliminating gas from its energy mix, the building achieves a lower Energy Use Intensity (EUI). This reduction not only aligns with environmental goals but also leads to operational cost savings. Additionally, the building's carbon footprint is significantly lowered, showcasing a holistic approach to sustainability that considers both energy efficiency and environmental impact. 

As we look towards the future, this achievement serves as an inspiration for architects and developers to push the boundaries of efficiency in the pursuit of a greener, more sustainably built environment.

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