Zehren and Associates is proud to announce The Blake at Taos Ski Valley has just been awarded LEED Silver. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes, and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.
During the design phase of The Blake, it was determined that achieving a LEED certification was a paramount goal. The design team came together to identify the goals and challenges of the project in order to reach LEED certification and to meet LEED’s goals related to the “triple bottom line” of People, Planet and Profit.
The Blake achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Below are some highlights of how we are working towards these goals.
Location, Transportation and Site
- Reuse of Existing Site: The Blake is located on the former site of an earlier resort services building and skier drop off, helping to protect “green space” from new development, and allowing for use of existing infrastructure in the new project.
- Improved Walkability: Reduced reliance on vehicles to encourage pedestrian activity and reduce vehicular pollution through efficient pedestrian paths connecting the building with neighboring services and the ski lifts.
- Stream Restoration: Improvements to the existing Lake Fork Creek adjacent to the site to help protect from erosion, run-off, and encroachment of utilities.
- Preferred Parking: The garage provides preferred parking spaces for carpool and alternative fuel vehicles to reduce the impacts of vehicle emissions and fuel consumption on the environment.
- Bicycle Racks and Storage: Encourage bicycle travel by locating bicycle racks around the building and providing locked bicycle storage in the garage.
Water and Energy Efficiency
- Alternative Energy: A geothermal well was installed on the adjacent ski slopes to reduce the electrical loads of the building by using the earth to provide heat in winter, or discharge heat in the summer using the ground to boost efficiency and offset operational costs.
- Reduced Water Consumption: Use of water-efficient fixtures such as toilets, lavatories, showers and kitchen sinks to reduce the amount of potable water consumed by over 30%. The project also utilizes landscape materials that are native or adaptable and therefore do not require irrigation. None of the landscaping on the project is irrigated, with the exception of the first 18 months of the project to establish healthy initial growth.
- Refrigerant Management: The building is cooled by refrigerants that have an Ozone Depletion Potential rating of 0.0 to help protect the stratospheric ozone layer and curb global warming.
- Green Power: The Blake has an agreement in place to purchase 100% of its electrical consumption over the first two years from a Green-e Certified Clean Source.
- Energy Savings: Through building energy model simulation, the project was able to achieve and anticipated energy cost performance savings of over 22%.
- Lighting Efficiency: Use of LED fixtures throughout the property to reduce the amount of energy consumed by lighting when compared to traditional incandescent lightbulbs, LED fixtures are also more environmentally friendly than fluorescent lighting, which have mercury.
Materials and Indoor Environment
- Recycling and Reuse: The Blake has a comprehensive recycling program for paper, cardboard, glass, plastics and metals and is collecting used wine bottles from the restaurant to donate to the Earthship Academy just west of Taos.
- Construction Waste Management: A comprehensive construction waste management plan was in place throughout the construction to divert as much construction waste from landfills as possible by following a “reduce, reuse and recycle” agenda.
- Low-Emitting Materials: All finish materials on the project such as paints, sealants and adhesives meet the standards of Low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) set forth by LEED.
- Non-Smoking Facility: The Blake Hotel is a non-smoking facility to protect the indoor air quality of guests and employees.
- Lighting Controls: Master light switches in guest rooms and multi-zone switching and dimmer controls in public spaces to provide greater lighting control and flexibility and reduce energy consumption.
- Thermal Comfort Controls: Thermostat control provided throughout to enhance occupant comfort.
- Green Cleaning Policy: The Blake Hotel has a green cleaning policy, outlining which types of chemicals are allowed to be used for cleaning purposes, as well as recycled content of paper products required to be used throughout the property.