Boulder Associates

By Nancy E. Berry on April 24, 2012

Winners of Practice Greenhealth’s Champion for Change Award

Design leaders for health and aging, Boulder Associates is given the distinction of a Champion for Change Award this year through Practice Greenhealth’s Envrionmental Excellence Awards program. The award recognizes organizations for their successes in green efforts as well as helping health care facilities reach their sustainability goals. For more than 25 years the architectural firm has been dedicated to creating health care and senior living facilities that are sustainable, empower the health care professional, and aid in the comfort and healing of those who are ill. “Sustainability is at the core of who we are,” says firm associate Amy Van Dam. “We incorporate sustainable features and practices into every project.”

Green Goals

In addition to the firm’s continuous investigation and pursuit of best practices in energy conservation for its projects, it set environmental goals in 2011 such as implementing in-house conceptual energy and daylight analysis on new projects. The training provided, and the experience gained by working with expert energy modelers, will provide a base for this year’s expansion of the initiative. Another goal was to improve employee knowledge related to sustainability. Building Green monthly newsletters and project successes related to sustainability were posted. Additionally, Boulder Associates offered employees learning opportunities on green building and operations throughout the year from various organizations, including webinars from Practice Greenhealth, Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, and the USGBC.

Sustainable Design

The firm has developed several projects that have achieved LEED status. For instance, the Colorado State Veterans Center Domiciliary Renovations at Homelake project achieved Platinum LEED certification under LEED for Homes in April 2011, and the Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula, Peninsula Wellness Center earned LEED-NC Silver certification in September 2011. The Center takes a holistic approach to “preventive care” rather than “curative care,” blending traditional medical services with fitness, rehabilitation, and wellness programs. “Sustainable aspects of the project include 90 percent of the wood being FSC-certified,” says Van Dam. The facility is located next to a 20-mile cycling path so bike racks, and locked indoor bike storage, showers, and changing rooms encourage staff to commute on two wheels. “Storm water is collected in underground storm chamber beds and infiltrated slowly on-site and released slowly to minimize impact on both the environment and existing infrastructure,” notes Kristi Ennis, a principal with the firm. The firm’s design of the New Meadows Long Term Care Facility in Las Vegas, New Mexico, reduced energy consumption by 57.2 percent over the U.S. average. “Energy conservation is always a challenge in health care facilities,” says Ennis. This goal was achieved through a combination of factors, including building orientation, shading devices, insulated concrete forms, high R-value roof insulation, an efficient plant, and efficient lighting and lighting controls. This project is also targeting LEED-NC Silver certification when it submits for review this summer.

Sustainable Practices

The firm has a Sustainable Business Practices Policy, including green cleaning, low-mercury lamping, recycling, and composting. All four offices are powered with renewable energy, such as wind, solar, and biomass, using Green-e Certified Energy credits. Its Green Team, lead by sustainable design director Kristi Ennis, plays an active role in engaging all staff in conversations regarding sustainable design solutions through eco-charrettes, design reviews, and site visits. The firm is an active member of the USGBC and charter members of Healthy Building Networks’ Pharos Project, which evaluates products to identify green building materials based on life-cycle analysis. In 2011, to assist and encourage clients to engage in the building commissioning process, a service that aids in reducing unnecessary energy consumption, the firm’s Green Team developed templates for commissioning related documents, including an RFP, Owners Project Requirements, and Basis of Design, that can be utilized by clients and project teams that are pursuing this service for their projects.

New Business Members

  • Beacon Converters Saddle Brook, NJ
  • Boston Scientific Natick, MA
  • Stericycle Northbrook, IL
  • Weston Solutions, Inc. West Chester, PA

ReNewing Business Members

  • Energy Solutions USA Elmira, NY
  • HDR Architecture, Inc. Omaha, NE
  • Perkins+Will–Chicago Chicago, IL
  • Powersmiths International Corporation Brampton, ON