Vail Valley Voices: Field house is eco-friendly |

Vail Valley Voices: Field house is eco-friendly

Michael Glass
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –Although it seems like it’s risen in the Vail Valley in just weeks, the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District Field House at Edwards is more than just the big box and large roof visible from Interstate 70. As WECMRD prepares for opening in December, the field house will serve as home for hun-dreds of new programs, activities and events.

The primary intent of the 2003-04 citizens’ committee was to determine the most needed indoor recreation amenities in the Edwards area. Indoor soccer was the clear No. 1 need, and the WECMRD Field House will feature one of the top indoor soccer fields in Colorado.

The turf will be home to youth, teen, adult and co-ed leagues as well as tournaments, clinics, soccer learning academies and the new WECMRD Freedom FC, our flagship adult indoor soccer league team. But soccer isn’t the only sport that will enjoy the state-of-the-art field; lacrosse, flag football, Ultimate Fris-bee and an entirely new activity, arena softball, will share time under the 57,000-square-foot space.

The WECMRD Field House at Edwards also will bring recreational opportuni-ties for basketball, vol-leyball, dodge ball, gym-nastics, climbing and more. The design of the field house was carefully managed to allow for maximum use and ver-satility. So, while most people will visit to play, many more will come for community meetings, trade shows, special events, tournaments, birthday parties and oth-er gatherings.

Beyond the myriad activities offered at the field house, though, are some carefully selected mechanical and design elements that make the field house an environmentally friendly structure. The field house is the first large building constructed under the Eco-Build guidelines of Eagle County. Our construction team took this challenge as an opportunity to explore new systems to reduce the energy costs for the building and sup-port new eco-friendly efforts. Among the many innovative ideas used were: • Beetle kill wood paneling.

• A sunflower-seed- based display board for energy-savings information.

• Human dynamo exercise bikes that generate electricity as riders pedal.

• A passive solar wall for preheating incoming air.

• A 20-kilowatt photovoltaic elec-tricity generating roof system.

• Energy recovery ventilation to maximize the reuse of heated air.

• No air conditioning in the main activity building.

• Infrared heating for maximum efficiency.

• Super- insulated wall and roof panels.

One highly visible feature of the WECMRD Field House is the light-col-ored roof. The color was selected for its energy-efficient properties and is called a “cool roof,” referring to the use of highly reflective and emissive mate-rials. The field house roof’s parchment color was selected in accordance with the design standards of the Miller Ranch Design Review Committee, achieving maximum energy efficiency while retaining the important color coordi-nation required for structures in the area. You’ll see the difference with the Sheriff’s Office, community room and office area, where a darker roof was utilized over the air-conditioned space. The choice of high-er solar reflectivity was particularly impor-tant for our building given that convention-al roofs can be 55 degrees to 85 degrees hot-ter than the air on any given day, while cool roofs tend to stay within 10 degrees to 20 degrees of the background temperature … and anyone can tell you playing soccer in 80 degrees to 90 degrees is far different than attempting the same in 120 degrees!

Equally important are the annual savings we’ll see by using these technologies. For example, a California study found that cool roofs provide an average yearly net savings of almost 50 cents per square foot. This sav-ings, along with those from the other ener-gy- saving components we used, resulted in a projected 50 percent reduction in the annual utility costs for the building. That’s $40,000 that can be used to deliver more programs, provide for ongoing mainte-nance and keep the field house fees afford-able. The WECMRD board of directors is proud that the field house not only exceed-ed the minimum standards of Eco-Build but has projected a point total of more than 100 – hopefully resulting in a bonus incentive. Come December, I invite you to join the fun at the new WECMRD Field House at Edwards and take a minute to watch the interactive energy savings display, read about the energy-efficiency systems and appreciate the energy-efficiency efforts introduced in the field house. At the WECMRD Field House at Edwards, good things, in this case, come in big packages!

– Michael Glass is chairman of the WECMRD board of directors

Support Local Journalism