Land-management agency building new ‘green’ home

The agency that oversees energy development on federal lands is doing its part to consume fewer of those resources in the construction of a new office building on the Western Slope.

The Bureau of Land Management’s new 18,800-square-foot building on the south side of Interstate 70 in Silt will have a range of environmentally friendly features, including water-efficient landscaping and plumbing and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.

BLM spokesman David Boyd said the agency hopes to attain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The green building principles start with the walls of the new office space: multi-colored cinder blocks that were left over from other projects. The blocks eventually will be covered with stucco.

“These are cinder blocks that might otherwise go to waste, go to the landfill,” Boyd said.

The building will feature a white reflective roof that makes it cooler during the summer, while the structure itself will be positioned to maximize natural heating during the winter. All lighting within the building will activate on motion, so if there is no movement in a room for a certain period of time, the lights will turn off, Boyd said.

The interior decor features paint and carpet that minimize volatile organic compounds.

Employees will use low-flow water fixtures and toilets, and the land around the building will be xeriscaped.

Officials made a point of setting aside parking spots for alternative-fuel and high gas-mileage vehicles. There will be a number of bicycle racks to encourage people to ride to work — and low-flow showers for them to use to get cleaned up after they arrive.

Boyd said the BLM and its 70 employees are moving to Silt because they outgrew their longtime office in Glenwood Springs and because land is less expensive down valley. The agency’s leases on its main office in West Glenwood and a second office in downtown
Glenwood Springs expire this year.

The new building, which the BLM will lease, should be completed in June.


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