The University of Colorado Recreation Services Department is committed to promoting health and wellness by providing sustainable programs and facilities to the university community. The Recreation Department strives to engage in social, economic, and environmental practices that meet the needs of the present population without compromising the needs of future generations. 

  • Social Sustainability: providing diverse programs and promoting an inclusive atmosphere
  • Economic Sustainability: fiscally responsible purchases and using local vendors
  • Environmental Sustainability: conserving energy and water, diverting waste and using green cleaning products

Renovation & Expansion Project

The current renovation and expansion of the Recreation Center has a lofty goal of achieving LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.  LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

In order to obtain the goal of LEED Platinum certification, several innovative energy reduction strategies were incorporated into the building by designers and engineers:

  • Direct/Indirect evaporative cooling and sensible heat recovery on all air handling units to reduce heating and cooling costs.
  • Displacement ventilation in all program areas to reduce HVAC system energy use.
  • Use of large diameter, lower velocity ceiling fans in large activity areas to aid in cooling.
  • 0.5 watt/SF electric lighting target with daylighting in all major activity cores including pool, ice arena, basketball courts, and turf gym to reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day and keep electrical lighting loads down.
  • Multi-level switching in spaces that require higher levels of lighting for competition, but do not need to operate at those levels for general use.
  • Waste heat recovery from ice refrigeration systems to prevent freezing of soil under the ice floor and to melt the ice at the Zamboni ice pit. Recovering this heat to temper the pools, heat domestic hot water, and for use in other areas eliminates the need for a cooling tower.
  • Low-flow shower heads and faucets to reduce domestic water use.
  • Building use of electricity generated from the micro-turbine.
  • Solar hot water preheat panels at the roof to reduce water heating energy use.

Building Heat Recovery Loop

In response to the strict energy goals of the project, and the University’s desire for a near net-zero building, the design team developed an extensive heat recovery strategy for the Recreation Center.

  • Waste heat from the ice plant supporting the ice rink is used for domestic water heating, to heat the indoor pool year round and serve other building needs in the shoulder seasons.
  • Additional heat from the ice plant in the summer will be used to heat the outdoor pool from May to September, eliminating the need to run a cooling tower except in the event of emergency overheat of the ice plant equipment.
  • Sensible heat recovery on the air handling units will help recover heat that would otherwise be rejected as waste for reuse within the mechanical systems.
  • Rejected heat from the microturbine will be used as the primary source of space heat for the natatorium. Any additional heat can be used to temper the indoor pools. Cogenerated electricity will be used within the building in lieu of grid power when available.
  • Displacement ventilation and air velocity from fans in large spaces in lieu of air conditioning further reduces energy consumption in the mechanical systems.