Mountain Retail Stores Become Showcase for Solar Energy
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Local Officials, Business Leaders to Gather for Groundbreaking Ceremony
e:mail: Public Affairs
Golden, Colo., June 7, 1999 A retail development owner who wants to set
an example is helping make possible a new showcase for energy efficient
buildings in the Colorado high country.
Ground will be broken June 9 on the BigHorn Home Improvement Center in
Silverthorne, which will boast a series of "firsts" for Colorado: the first
retail space to be completely daylit and the first retail space to use net
metering with Public Service Company.
The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. in front of the
BigHorn Center at 1241 Blue River Parkway. Silverthorne town officials and
local business leaders are scheduled to attend.
The three-phase project used a "whole building" design concept to
incorporate active and passive solar energy systems and energy efficiency
strategies. The whole building concept refers to engineering a building's
envelope and its energy systemssuch as heating, air conditioning and
lightingto minimize energy consumption.
The retail development uses cutting edge technologies developed by the
Center for Buildings and Thermal Systems at the U.S. Department of Energy's
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Phases 1 and 2, completed last year, included Sears and an adjacent
flooring and carpet store. Phase 3, which incorporates the most NREL design
concepts, will include a building materials warehouse and a chain hardware
Phase 3 includes a photovoltaic (PV)-integrated standing-seam metal
roof, a transpired solar collector (solar wall), daylighting, energy
efficient windows and lighting, radiant heating and extra insulation
throughout the development. Together they are expected to cut the center's
annual energy bill by about 25% compared to a building designed to meet
federal energy codes.
Net metering means that extra electricity produced by solar panels on
the roof and not used by the building will be fed back to the utility, with
credit given to the customer at the same rate as power purchased from the
utility. Daylighting uses natural light as a primary source of light during
daytime hours. The Bighorn Center's final design includes clerestory windows
for daylighting and a south-facing transpired solar collector, or solar
wall, for space heating.
Another first for the Bighorn Center is the use in a retail store of
dimmable ballasts in High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting. Consistent
lighting levels will be maintained as the lights automatically dim or grow
brighter based on sensor readings inside the building. Ordinary ballasts
keep lighting at a constant brightness - the lights are either fully on or
Dimmable ballasts coupled with daylighting are expected to reduce the
building's electrical lighting consumption by 45%, thereby reducing overall
energy use and saving money.
While innovative electric lighting and daylighting may seem like
obvious components in a passive solar building, NREL senior research
engineer Sheila Hayter explained that their use in a retail store is
considered a bold move by the owner, who needs to guarantee his merchandise
is consistently well lit for customers.
"If things aren't well lit people won't shop in their store," she said.
The BigHorn Center's materials warehouse and hardware store also will
sell energy efficient building products including some used in the Center's
construction. NREL will continue research efforts on the building through
monitoring and evaluation of the technologies.