How to Build a Net Zero Building: Boulder Commons is Uncommonly Green and Innovative … and Sets a Benchmark for Sustainable Buildings

Boulder Commons - net zero energy building

Boulder Commons – Net Zero Energy building

Situated at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, watched over by the iconic Flatirons, Boulder, Colorado is a 21st century hub for forward thinking technologies and lifestyles. The city is committed to environmental stewardship as evidenced by its innovative solutions to climate change and its commitment to creating a healthier, more resilient and prosperous community.

And now there is Boulder Commons, a Net Zero Energy (NZE) building which at this very moment is coming into being. What does NZE mean? NZE buildings produce 100% of their energy needs on-site over a net annual basis. (Note: The energy use from the restaurant and cafe is not included in the NZE calculation.) Boulder Commons is slated to be the leading green building in Boulder County.

The Boulder Commons complex, comprised of a north and south building, will contain multiple green and innovative features using the latest technologies for ventilation and electricity generation, natural lighting and open work spaces. There will be both car share and bike share programs.

Solar panels are being installed on both the north and south buildings. Independent Power Systems (IPS) was selected for PV panel installation on both the roof and the east facade – yes, the wall!

Panel installation on the roof is complete. Any day now, installation will begin on the east facade. This will be a new undertaking for IPS. In fact, it has very rarely been done anywhere. (Updates will be provided … until completion of the project.)

In total, there will be 1,072 high-efficiency SunPower solar panels on the Boulder Commons roofs and 655 of the same type panels on the east facade of the south building. Annual energy production from the solar PV is estimated to be 511,367 kWh.

Among the tenants at Boulder Commons will be the Rocky Mountain Institute – dedicated to research and consulting in the general field of sustainability. Tenants won’t just be renting a space in this innovative building; they will be both inspired and incentivized to participate in reducing the energy footprint of the building.  Bike and car share programs will be available for tenants.

Boulder Junction is the immediate neighborhood where Boulder Commons is situated. A pedestrian-oriented neighborhood, it is designed to be an alignment of community and commercial spaces. It includes bike paths and the new RTD transit station. Directly to the west of Boulder Commons is the the charming, multi-use Steel Yards neighborhood; nearby is the 29th Street Mall, and currently under construction is Google’s Rocky Mountain headquarters.

For updates on this project, see Independent Power Systems’ Facebook page.

Contact Independent Power Systems to help you get the best in solar PV design for your home or business.

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