Fed building project aims for ‘net zero’

The 92-year-old Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building in downtown Grand Junction will be rebuilt from within to meet new energy-efficiency standards.

Construction is to begin in February on a $12.3 million contract to replace the interior systems with modern high-performing, energy-efficient systems. The job is to be complete by January 2013, and the funding will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The building includes a federal courtroom on its third level, one in which prosecutors have sought to conduct a trial of Valley Investments owner Philip Rand Lochmiller, who faces multiple charges in connection with the failure of his business.

That trial is scheduled to begin in February, but otherwise would be conducted in Denver. Two other people, Lochmiller’s stepson and a former employee, are to be sentenced in Grand Junction after the completion of the elder Lochmiller’s trial.

No information immediately was available as to how the construction would affect the trial if it is conducted in the Aspinall building.

The General Services Agency said officials hope the work will make the Aspinall building a “net zero” building, meaning it would produce as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year. If that goal can be attained, the Aspinall building would be the first “net zero” building on the National Register of Historic Places, the agency said.

“GSA’s sustainability goal is to create a zero environmental footprint in every aspect of our work,” GSA Rocky Mountain Regional Administrator Susan Damour said.  “With our project partners, we are developing new and creative ways to make all our buildings monuments to this sustainable goal.”

The new building design is intended to achieve the highest LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED is an internationally recognized building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving overall performance.

Some of the sustainable options the GSA is investigating are geothermal-exchange and photovoltaic systems.

The building will house nine federal agencies upon completion. The building will remain occupied during construction with some temporary relocations as needed, the GSA said.

The Beck Group, based in Dallas, will serve as the design-build contractor and architect. Westlake Reed Leskosky, with offices in Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., will provide design services and be a partner in the design-build process.


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