By Susan C. Galentine, Fort Carson Directorate of Public Works Public RelationsNovember 4, 2009
FORT CARSON, Colo.-Soldiers of the Ivy Band moved their flutes, trumpets and drums into an energy-efficient, sustainably-constructed training facility in mid September. The new home of 4th Infantry Division Band features Fort Carson's first application of a geothermal heating and cooling system.
The 12,620-square foot band training facility, built by the service disabled, veteran-owned, small business, joint venture of Main/Mass, houses rehearsal spaces, locker rooms, offices, administrative space, a library, instrument storage and a break room/day room area.
Main/Mass exceeded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers standard requirement for the Ivy Band's facility to attain a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver rating certification. The construction contractor achieved enough project points to pursue a Gold rating certification.
"Creating sustainable facilities matches the Corps of Engineers' goals of providing high quality products that have minimal impact on the environment, greatly reduced energy needs and feature numerous user-friendly features," said Greg Sipes, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project engineer for the band training facility.
DLR Group, the architects of the band training facility, included a number of sustainable features in the design, including daylighting, use of materials that include a large amount of recycled content, low-flow water fixtures, water efficient landscaping and a high-efficiency ground-loop geothermal system.
"Acoustics, daylighting and sustainability were the overriding themes influencing the design of the facility," said Tom Kapels, DLR Group project manager for the design of the facility. "Each of the main rehearsal spaces has acoustical wall panels, ceiling diffusers, variable acoustic curtains and cork flooring. Most of the materials have recycled content, and the cork flooring is a material that is from a rapidly renewable resource."
"One new feature to Fort Carson is the use of geothermal heat pumps," said Sipes. "This type of heating and cooling system has been used successfully around the world for many years. Various other Army posts have been using geothermal heating and cooling in both residential and commercial applications with great success."
This ground source heating and cooling technology entailed drilling 40 wells, 400 feet deep, into the ground to capture the relatively constant temperature of the earth. Water circulates through the wells and simply transfers heat to and from the earth to provide heating and cooling. In the summer the ground temperature is cooler than the outside air and in the winter the ground temperature is warmer than the outside air.
The Fort Carson Soldier and Family Assistance Center under construction adjacent to Evans Army Community Hospital will also have ground-source geothermal system.
Building sustainable facilities costs more at the outset, but costs are coming down. "Historically, the increased costs associated with a LEED Silver certified building has been between 3 percent and 5 percent," said Kapels. "That percentage has been decreasing rapidly due to the influx of sustainable technologies and products into the marketplace, and the increasing acceptance by the industry of sustainable practices."
Kapels estimates the payback on the cost of the geothermal heat pump system alone to be two-three years from the energy savings yielded from the system.
The Ivy Band, the first Army band assigned to Fort Carson in 14 years, is enjoying the new "green" training facility.
"These musicians are extremely pleased with the facility," said Chief Warrant Officer Marvin Cardo, officer in charge of the band. "With all its unique features and space, it makes this band facility the Cadillac of band buildings. Musicians that join the Army Bands are highly trained musicians. Most are graduates of our top universities and conservatories and have performed with some of the leading orchestras in the world. Having performed in some of the greatest concert halls and theaters, it is crucial for musicians in our military bands to be able to continue training and performing in such great concert halls."
"I am very excited to be the first commander in such a great facility and set the example of what this band should look and sound like," said Cardo. "This facility represents the professionalism that this band displays with every performance."