Monday, January 12, 2009

CO's 1st LEED-Gold private school relies on Wausau's windows

Colorado's first LEED-Gold private school relies on Wausau's windows

Wausau, Wis. -- Striving to pursue excellence in sustainable design and construction, Valor Christian High School became the first private school in Colorado to earn Gold certification through the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® Green Building Rating System™. Helping contribute to this achievement, Wausau Window and Wall Systems provided high-performance windows manufactured with recycled aluminum for the campus' Academic Building.
The $55 million, 35-acre campus in Highlands Ranch, Colo., includes an academic building, athletic complex, and football and track stadium. At full capacity, the 9-12 grade school supports 1,200 students with a 20:1 student to teacher ratio.
Opened for the 2007-08 school year, the three-story Academic Building was the first of four buildings to emerge -- constructed in just 11 months. It contains 43 classrooms, eight science laboratories, administrative offices, and a 5,300-square-foot research and teaching media center with direct views of the Rocky Mountains. Sustainable design components for the 130,000-square-foot Academic Building include thermal displacement ventilation, low-flow/automatic restroom fixtures, and an advanced lighting/daylighting control system.
Valor's school leaders sought to "include ample amounts of natural light, which will provide a superior learning environment by helping students maintain alertness and interest." In addition, all buildings are designed to offer air quality and energy efficiency surpassing typical schools and creating a healthier facility. Eight months after opening, estimates indicated the school would use about half the amount of energy as a standard public school, saving an estimated $65,000 per year.
Enhancing the Academic Buildings' energy-efficient, daylighting features, outdoor light sensors limit the occupants' use of florescent bulbs when natural light is available. "Valor's large windows are engineered to maximize daylighting, while maintaining a comfortable interior climate. As an industry pioneer in energy-efficient, high-performance, thermal barrier products, Wausau's 3250 Series Heritage windows' were tuned to Colorado's climate and solar exposure," says Kevin Robbins, Wausau's regional sales manager.
Wausau's window frames were painted by Linetec in a durable, bronze finish and fabricated with recycled aluminum. Twenty percent of the facilities' materials are comprised of recycled content and 77% of the construction materials were diverted from landfills and to recycling programs. Regional suppliers and locally sourced materials were selected whenever possible. Colorado Window Systems of Denver installed Wausau's insulated window units to meet the school's quick-turn timeline, as well as its performance and sustainable design goals. Today, the windows allow students to enjoy outside views and a continued connection with the environment.
"The windows are energy efficient and provide proper lighting, yet remain aesthetically appealing. As the first private high school in Colorado to receive a LEED-Gold certification, we are very pleased to have partnered with a quality window manufacturer in Wausau," said Shannon L. Dreyfuss, executive vice president and CFO of Valor Christian High School.

Guided by the mission, "influence through excellence," Valor Christian High School formed its school board in 2005. The board purchased the future site of its campus in January 2006, and almost immediately selected SlaterPaull Architects Inc. of Denver to design the educational complex in collaborations with The Lund Partnership of Lakewood, Colo., and Anderson & Hastings of Denver. RMH Group provided additional, sustainable design and engineering recommendations. Saunders Construction Inc. of Englewood, Colo., served as general contractor and began construction on the Academic Building in September 2006.
Saunders' senior project manager, Dennis Disney, told the Associated General Contractors of Colorado, "A project of this scale typically requires an 18-month timeline, not including the four weeks we lost to inclement weather and snow removal." After the Academic Building's successful opening in August 2007, Saunders completed the athletic facility and chapel in October 2007 and the stadium in May 2008. Construction of the Arts and Aquatics facilities are planned for the near future.
Nationally recognized for its innovative expertise, Wausau Window and Wall Systems is an industry leader in engineering window and curtainwall systems for commercial and institutional construction applications. For more than 50 years, Wausau has worked closely with architects, building owners and contractors to realize their vision for aesthetic beauty, sustainability and lasting value, while striving to maintain the highest level of customer service, communication and overall satisfaction. Wausau is a part of Apogee Enterprises, Inc., a publicly held, U.S. corporation.