First net-zero energy historic building in the works

The 92-year-old Wayne Aspinall Federal Building and Courthouse will use geothermal heating and cooling and solar panels.


Using funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Rocky Mountain Region awarded a $12.3 million design-build contract to modernize the 92-year-old historic Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Grand Junction, Colo. The project is expected to become the first net-zero energy building in the National Register of Historic Places.

“This building is on track to be the first of its kind in the entire nation. GSA will partner with regional businesses to maintain the historic features that make the building special, while investing in sustainable technologies to make it one of the most energy and cost efficient buildings in the country,” said GSA administrator Martha Johnson.

The Beck Group and Westlake Reed Leskosky are partnering up for this project, which aims to achieve net-zero energy usage and U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum.

GSA will install an energy-saving geothermal heating and cooling system that uses the warmth or cold of the ground to control temperature and a solar panel array that is projected to generate 115 kW of peak electrical production.  Energy produced in excess of the building’s needs will be exported to Grand Junction’s electrical grid.  The building will also feature state-of-the-art florescent light fixtures with wireless controls and storm windows with solar control film to reduce demand on heating and cooling.

The building will also get energy efficiency upgrades for its shell, space conditioning (with variable-refrigerant flow), ventilation, and wireless controls.

Originally designed by architect James Westmore, the Wayne Aspinall Federal building was a post office and courthouse in 1918. In 1939, a large extension was added.  Project completion is scheduled for January 2013, at which time the building will host nine federal agencies.

- Edited by Bettina Chang, Consulting-Specifying

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