The Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility (CRMF) will store and maintain trains for the East, Gold, North Metro, and first segment of the Northwest rail lines. As the designer, constructor, and operator of the CRMF, Denver Transit Partners (DTP) has incorporated sustainability strategies that achieve LEED’s high performance building criteria and reduce the fiscal impacts over the lifetime of the building. DTP will apply for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver Certification.

LEED credits implemented in this facility were evaluated based on both the environmental and fiscal impact over time, benefiting the operation of the CRMF as well as the local community. The main areas of impact include building energy performance, execution strategy for design and construction, and overall project sustainability goals.

Highlights include:

  • Brownfield Redevelopment
    Foundation construction at the CRMF

    Foundation construction at the CRMF

    • The project site improved a disused industrial area and will remove the lead and benzoapyrene soil contamination and safely transfer soils to a controlled landfill designed to safely store this hazardous waste. Because of this project, the contamination from previous owners was addressed, benefiting the local community.
  • Storm Water Design
    • The project reduces the net amount of impervious parking, removing 49 stalls. Less impervious surfaces result in less storm water leaving the site, which reduces issues like erosion and reduced water quality in nearby creeks and streams.
    • The site is designed to reduce the amount of storm water runoff by 61% when compared to the site condition before the project.
    • The project’s storm water design includes retention ponds which achieve a total suspended solids efficiency of 80%, which provides cleaner water leaving the site.
  • Heat Island Effect
    • Both the site paving and the roof material meet the requirements of the LEED heat island credits, reducing the impact of this project on the urban temperatures. The heat island effect, where roofs and pavement become hotter than the surrounding air, is common in urban areas.
    • The building’s roof is a white Thermoplastic Membrane with an extremely high Solar Reflectance Index value of 102 that keeps the building cooler and reduces the amount of air conditioning needed in hot months.
    • In addition, track ballast (the track bed upon which the railroad ties are laid) was tested to verify the Solar Reflectivity Index (SRI) was high enough to comply with the non-roof heat island effect credit.
  • Water Efficiency
    • Because Colorado is a semi-arid climate, consideration for landscaping is impactful. Through the use of native grasses, adapted plants and efficient irrigation, this project reduces water usage for irrigation by 80% compared to the conventional baseline. This approach will require less water, less energy use due to less pumping of water, and lower labor and maintenance costs. This approach is estimated to reduce significant water use over the O&M period.
    • Water efficient plumbing fixtures such as 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) water closets and 0.125 gpf urinals reduce potable
      water usage by 39% compared to conventional fixtures. Additionally, low-flow shower heads will be installed for the employee locker rooms.
  • Water Quality
    Steel beam installation at the CRMF

    Steel beam installation at the CRMF

    • The CRMF will use an industrial waste system to pretreat anticipated industrial wastewater contaminants prior to discharge into the
      sanitary sewer. Industrial contaminants such as special solvents or acids will be captured at the point of use and hauled away to be treated by a private vendor.
  • Energy Efficiency
    • Through the use of efficient mechanical units and lighting, this building will achieve an energy savings of 32%.
    • Efficient mechanical systems such as variable refrigerant flow (VRF), heat recovery heating/cooling units, hot water radiant floor heating, condensing high efficiency boilers, variable speed air compressors, energy recovery process exhaust systems and indirect/direct evaporative cooling have been provided to improve energy efficiency.
    • The high-bay maintenance area is heated by radiant floors which are served by an 89% efficient hot water boiler. Ventilation is through a direct outside air system which includes a heat recovery unit that captures heat from the exhausted air and reduces the energy need to reheat incoming air.
    • Energy efficiency will be optimized through the use of large, thermally-broken aluminum windows and double pane skylights provide free daylighting and reduced the need for artificial lighting during the day and contribute to the energy savings and workplace satisfaction. Windows will have shades that reduce thermal gain while providing beneficial daylighting.
    • The building’s lighting control provides occupancy sensors that automatically shut off lights in most spaces when building occupants leave the room. The building also has occupancy controls that set back the amount of outside air in times of
      low occupancy.
    • The CRMF will undergo Enhanced Commissioning to ensure the entire facility is designed, constructed, and calibrated to operate as intended. The Enhanced Commissioning Process drives design decisions that produce substantial savings over time.
    • The building is on track for substantial incentives, in excess of $290,000, from the power utility which helped reduce the first cost of the higher efficiency.
  • Air Quality and Healthy Workplace
    • During construction, work will be executed in a manner that keeps building materials dry and protected from moisture to minimize mold or other contamination. Areas under construction will be kept separate from finished areas to reduce dust and pollutants from spreading.
    • Paint, adhesives and flooring products are selected to have low to no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
    • Before occupancy, the facility will be flushed with large quantities of outside air to improve the indoor air quality and to reduce any potential air quality impacts from newly-installed materials, which provides for a healthy workplace for the
      O&M staff.
    • All new systems have been installed to deliver the proper amount of outside air ventilation per current codes to provide continuous levels of high indoor air quality.
    • A main stairwell with large windows, daylighting and art encourages active occupants to choose the stairs instead of
      the elevator.
  • Materials, Resources and Waste Reduction
    Construction on the Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility

    Construction on the Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility

    • The CRMF will use recycled products in its building materials which reduces the amount of virgin materials extraction and lessens the amount of materials delivered to landfills. The project is targeting a recycled content rate of 10%.
    • Many materials are sourced locally to not only reduce emissions incurred during transport of the materials to the site, but also to keep investment in the regional economy. The project is on track to exceed a 10% of all materials (by cost) that are regionally sourced.
    • The rails, ties and gravel ballast are sourced from the region, investing regional economies and reducing the emissions impact of long-haul shipping or trucking. The concrete ties for the project were manufactured by Rocla Concrete Tie, Inc. in Denver, which was previously located at the CRMF site.
    • Tons of waste has been diverted from landfills by crushing concrete and asphalt from site demolition and reusing this material at the new CRMF and at other locations on the Eagle P3 Project. The building is pursuing a waste diversion rate of 50% through recycling demolished concrete and asphalt for regional construction projects.
    • DTP collaborated with RTD, local authorities, and neighboring developers to export approximately 40,000 cubic yards of soil from the CRMF site for re-use on other projects in the Denver region.
    • The project will purchase refurbished office furniture, reducing the waste and avoiding the impacts associated with the manufacture of new furniture. The project is seeking a LEED Innovation credit for this waste (and cost) reduction strategy.
    • The lamps for the building lamps comply with the LEED low mercury credit standards reducing the amount of heavy metal disposal over the building’s lifetime.

Read more about the CRMF here

Read about project-wide sustainability efforts here