The 11,825-sq.-ft. Boulder County Addiction Recovery Center (ARC) opened in September 2007. The 30-bed, $3.9 million detox facility, offering acute and long-term treatment, is built to fit into an existing hillside. Seventy-five percent of the building, designed by five LEED-certified county architects, uses recycled materials harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the ARC, and 50% of its wood was Forest Stewardship Council certified (FSC encourages responsible forest management). Adhesives, sealants, paints, flooring, and wood products have low levels of volatile organic compounds. During construction, an indoor air quality management plan reduced harmful gases, dust, and other irritants.
To reduce its carbon footprint, ARC contracts with a wind power supplier, but the facility has 270 photovoltaic solar collectors to provide 40 to100% of its electricity needs. Further reducing its electrical demand, the building has windows in 90% of its spaces as well as occupancy and lighting sensors throughout. ARC also has a high-efficiency boiler. Architectural Energy Corporation assisted with energy modeling as well as the LEED submission.
Water-efficient landscaping, including native grasses, surround the building. Inside low-flow and dual-flush plumbing fixtures with sensor flow switches reduce water use by 40%.
Also, the facility is accessible by bus and has dedicated car-pool parking spaces along with bike racks and a shower for staff.
Alan Watkins, a Boulder County project architect, says ARC demonstrates that green facilities can be built within a county budget's constraints. The building's LEED certification has encouraged Boulder County to pursue environmentally friendly design for future projects.
“My advice to other entities is to find a champion within the organization, do your research, and engage a LEED-accredited professional within your design team,” notes Watkins.