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  Alliance Center
Existing Buildings LEED® Gold
Commercial Interior LEED® Silver

Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
1536 Wynkoop Street, #B500, Denver, CO 80202

ShearsAdkins Architects
1821 Blake Street, #1A, Denver, CO 80202

LOCATION: Denver, Colorado
DATE BID: July 2004
Construction Period: Nov 2004 to Feb 2005
Total Square Feet: 38,609 SITE: .359 acre 
BUILDING SIZE: Subterranean, 6268; basement, 6,268; first floor, 6,268; second thru sixth floor, 6,268; penthouse, 1,001; total, 38,609 square feet. 
Building Height: Subterranean, 10’8”; basement, 10’8”; first floor, 13’9”; second floor, 11’5”; each additional floor, 11’5”; penthouse, 16’4”; total, 86'. 
Basic Construction Type: Renovation/Historic post & beam.
Foundation: Existing. Exterior Walls: Existing. Roof: Existing. Floors: Carpet, natural linoleum. 
Interior Walls: Wheatboard, drywall, polycarbonate resin thermoplastic.

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Sprung Construction, Inc. - 3030 Walnut Street, Denver, CO 80205
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: E Cube - 1900 Folsom Street, #109, Boulder, CO 80302
SUSTAINABILITY CONSULTANT: Ambient Energy - 4392 Ulysses Way, Golden, CO 80403

Constructed in 1908, the Alliance Center (formerly the Otero Building) has seen many uses over the years. In its hey-day, the Lower Downtown District (LoDo) in Denver, Colorado had 80 trains arriving every day to nearby Union Station. As time passed, fewer than five trains stopped in LoDo, and the area became known as "Skid Row." 

Recently, LoDo has experienced revitalization and has been recognized for its characteristic historic buildings with new uses. In the 1990's the Otero building was purchased by the neighboring Tattered Cover bookstore and was used primarily as a shipping and receiving warehouse. Then the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado purchased the Otero Building in 2004 and began renovating and creating the Alliance Center-with the goal of creating one of the nation's greenest office buildings and a center for innovation in the Rockies.

The renovation comprised of the reconfiguration of interior spaces, repairing and updating building HVAC, telecom, and electrical systems, and new finishes. The Architects - ShearsAdkins, LLC - worked with the Alliance to preserve the historic integrity of the building, while pursuing sustainable strategies to promote building health, energy and water efficiencies. 

Interior spaces were reconfigured based upon the relationship between the existing elevator and stairwell core and the large windows on three sides of the building. This strategy succeeded in providing natural daylight to over 75% of spaces and maintains an open floor plan - an important feature helping to reduce waste during tenant turnover.

With no process water used on site, the Alliance focused on updating its water fixtures to waterfree urinals, 1.0 gallon flush toilets, and high-efficiency faucets. As a result, the Alliance Center cut its water use by 90% and its water bills by 75%. 

In an effort to create this high performance building from renewable or recycled resources, the Alliance used a variety of green materials. For example, natural cotton-based fiber insulation, made from old blue jeans, was used as a direct substitute for fiberglass batting. Bamboo, wheatboard, and reclaimed wood products were used wherever possible and drywall was secured from a local source. 

For energy efficiency, the Alliance worked with Ecube for retro-commissioning and upgraded its HVAC system to digital controls. With mechanical plans showing a boiler in the basement - which wasn't there - all HVAC and commissioning was on-site discovery, complicating the job. Finally, the Alliance participated in the utility's Demand Side Management program to upgrade all lighting ballasts and bulbs and independently installed daylight harvesting Axis Ballasts. Despite doubling the building population, this work resulted in a 14% energy reduction and a 10% drop in energy bills. 

The Alliance Center achieved two LEED® Certifications (Existing Buildings-Gold; Commercial Interiors-Silver), one of only two buildings in the world to achieve this dual distinction. More unique than this pairing of LEED Certifications is the Alliance Center's development as a Multi-Tenant Non-Profit Center. The high-performance building practices mimic the mission of the building's 27 non-profit tenants - promoting sustainability. Further, every dollar tenants save on reduced utility bills is money put toward renewable energy, government ethics, conservation, and healthcare. The Alliance Center has served as the headquarters for the Colorado Smoking Ban, Colorado High Performance Buildings Bill, and the Colorado Renewable Energy Act - taking sustainability beyond the brick.  

DIV. 3: Gypsum Concrete Flooring: Gypcrete® by Maxxon.
DIV. 9: Carpet: Interface; Flooring: Marmoleum® by Forbo; Ceiling Tile: USG Eclipse Tile.
DIV. 22: Waterless Urinals: Falcon Waterfree; Plumbing Fixtures: Toto, Sloan, Mansfield.
DIV. 26: T-8 Bulbs: Philips; Daylight Harvesting Ballasts: Axis Technologies, Inc.

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