Large Crowd Celebrates Renovation
Western Resource Advocates recently held an open house for neighbors, friends, and supporters to see the green changes made during a recent renovation. A festive mood prevailed as the crowd saw the improvements that make our building a more efficient place to work and less of a burden on the planet.
The renovation was necessary because the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit was about to fail. With the HVAC replacement requiring some construction, we decided to also make better use of the building's space. We improved our atrium area, expanded our conference room, and added several small meeting rooms. The construction process took into account reducing the amount of construction waste, recycling all materials possible, using environmentally-responsible materials, and reducing energy and water use. Our changes are already making a difference. Just in the first month of use, our new HVAC system used 40 percent less energy than in previous months.
In her remarks to the audience, WRA President Karin P. Sheldon invited community groups to use our meeting spaces, which include video conferencing capabilities. Our goal is to not only be a good protector of resources, but also a good neighbor.
Western Resource Advocates has renovated its offices to provide more work space for our growing organization. The renovation reflects WRA's core principles of sustainability, efficiency, and natural resource protection. It embodies the concept of a "green home" envisioned by WRA's founder Kelley Green when she purchased the building and named it the Environmental Center of the Rockies.
The remodeling project embraces a number of sound building principles:
- Recycling of old materials
- Installation of energy and water-efficient appliances
- Use of healthier paints, carpet and other green building materials
- Use of environmentally-practical materials such as beetle kill pine
- Application of technology, such as video conferencing equipment, to decrease our environmental footprint.
"WRA faces the same economic and practical constraints that any business or homeowner faces with a remodeling project," said WRA President Karin P. Sheldon. "We made our renovation decisions to create a healthy, functional and comfortable workspace, while recognizing that wasting energy, water, and resources is unnecessary and expensive. In doing this project right, we paid attention to our pocketbooks as well as our spirit. Our renovation is a fine example of what can be done with a modest amount of money to green up an old building."
WRA is working to have the building LEED certified, which means it would be recognized as following internationally recognized standard for sustainable and environmentally healthy building practices.
Western Resource Advocates has a long history of incorporating environmentally-sound elements in the ECR and its landscaping. The building has been generating its own solar power since 1998, and its solar system was recently upgraded to produce more power more efficiently. A specially designed stormwater system manages run-off from the building's roof to prevent non-point source pollution from ending up in local rivers and streams.
About the ECR
The Environmental Center of the Rockies was the dream of the founder of the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies (LAW Fund), Kelley Green. Her objective was to create a center that houses environmental non-profit organizations in a building that is an environmental showcase of energy and water efficiency. The building is home to conservation organizations including Western Resource Advocates (formerly the LAW Fund), National Wildlife Federation, Pacific Institute, Western Clean Energy Campaign, and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.