The Walnut Boulder Building Towards a Sustainable Future

the-walnut-boulderOne of the many things I like about The Walnut Boulder is that it’s focused on green building techniques and technologies. The developers are pursuing the Leadersip in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Any project in Boulder that’s paying attention to LEED certification, BuiltGreen techniques or any other semblance of green building strategy is worth our attention and I’m glad to learn more about how The Walnut Boulder is focused in this direction.

The Walnut Boulder will follow in the footsteps of the firms other sustainable development efforts which include working with Rocky Mountain Institute to create the first LEED Platinum CI (commercial interiors) certified space in the United States.

The sustainable strategy for The Walnut started with the choice of a site located close to the urban core, yet in a quiet neighborhood. By contrast to One Boulder Plaza, this is a very quiet neighborhood! Further components include sustainable practices related to site development, water conservation, indoor air quality and energy efficiency.
What does this mean specifically in terms of the design of the building? It means The Walnut has been designed to minimize the project’s environmental footprint, while maximizing comfort for its residents. This is a key concept of green building techniques and strategies and an essential part that’s often overlooked when contemplating green building. This type of development is better for the planet and better for all the residents of Boulder.

People often talk about Built Green, sustainable design and similar ‘buzz words’ but only think about the environmental issues or perhaps maybe the cost saving issues. Frequently one has to measure cost savings as Return on Investment. Well, I don’t know about you, but unless you’re pretty hip to that sort of thing, most folks I talk to get that glazed over look when I start extolling the virtues of hefty investments in photo-voltaic, active solar, radiant heating and how that all pays off when measured against R.O.I.

See? you’re eyes have that glazed over 1000 yard stare right now.

When we see developers like Morgan Creek Ventures remembering that all of this amounts to maximizing comfort as well, we know that they’re doing their homework!
To give you some more specifics on the project and how it’s embracing green building tactics, consider that significant components of the existing foundation and structural system have been retained, thereby reducing the volume of new cement and steel in the development. This approach, together with a “deconstruction” rather than “demolition” effort and the active management of waste materials during construction, will substantially reduce the volume of material that ends up in landfills. No, that’s what I like, a developer that’s really embracing the spirit of participating in ALL phases of the project to work hard at staying green.

The core building materials, especially steel, are manufactured from high-recycled content materials and most were selected because of their regional availability. Can you say “support your local business?” Paint, sealants and adhesives will be low-VOC (volatile organic compound) emitting materials wherever possible in order to improve indoor air quality. Many people don’t realize that the ‘new’ smell in homes (and even cars) is really the out-gassing of essentially what amounts to pretty nasty stuff that can cause some health issues for many people. Low-VOC is really a great way to go.

Even the carpet selection, which reflects a sophisticated design sense, includes high-recycled content backing. The dual flush toilets and water conservation strategies for irrigating the courtyard plantings and streetscape at The Walnut will also help to reduce water consumption, without negatively impacting lifestyle.

The Walnut represents a new generation of urban living that demonstrates that living “lighter on the land” can positively impact your life each day. The residences at The Walnut have been designed to live around a courtyard, thereby improving access to sunlight and natural ventilation. In fact, most units feature operable windows on two and sometimes three sides. The Walnut’s “green roof” – the first of its kind in Boulder – will absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen and actually help cool the building. It’s not bad to look at either.

With outstanding views of the Flatirons to the southwest and Dakota Ridge to the Northwest in addition to everything else, how can you go wrong. So ask yourself, do you want to live up against Dakota Ridge or have a great view of Dakota Ridge within a quiet urban neighborhood just a stroll away from great restaurants like Mateo and Latilier…

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