Energy producer proud of office’s energy savings

PARACHUTE — A company that’s in the business of producing energy has opened a new office building that places an emphasis on energy savings.

Encana USA has moved into its new field office in Parachute.  It’s the oil and gas company’s biggest field office anywhere, and it features a focus on functionality over fashion, and on the belief that as important as energy production might be, avoiding wasted energy is better.

The three-story building, which totals more than 48,000 square feet, makes use of copious amounts of windows to capture natural lighting and photo cells that turn inside lights off when enough sunlight is available. Motion detectors also determine when to turn lights on and off, and likewise monitor individual work stations so unnecessary items are powered down when not in use.

Those measures and others are to result in a 22 percent savings in utility costs.

“We didn’t want to build a building and be wasteful,” said Eric Olsen, the building’s project manager for Encana.

Encana was operating from cramped, leased offices and trailers north of Parachute. Some 240 people have moved into the new office, but it can accommodate 345, and there’s space on the property to build a 20,000-square-foot second building if needed.

The company has more than 3,000 wells in the Piceance Basin and is operating five drilling rigs. Encana spokesman Doug Hock said factors such as natural gas prices will affect its future local growth.

The company’s $6 million investment in interior work on the office building is indicative of what Encana says is a long-term commitment to the region. 

About 80 percent of the work went to Western Slope subcontractors, Olsen said.

Exposed I-beams inside and a concrete floor in the field personnel room are among indications that the building doesn’t contain high-end finishes, Olsen noted. Rather, it was built with its purpose as a field office in mind, which entails things such as the ability to easily clean up dirt that boots bring in from well pads.

But some finishing touches bear noting, such as lunch tabletops depicting a map of Encana’s operating areas in the region. Olsen said that idea came from an employee, and has elicited more comments from workers than anything else in the building.

“We deal in geology and geography and this gets them excited,” he said.


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