Clean Conversion Loan

Studio Arts Boulder


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Heat Pump

  EV Charger

Geothermal Piping and Drilling

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Energy Recovery Ventilation

About the Project

Project investment: $ 1,037,000

Location: Boulder

Environmental highlights:

  • Solar
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • EV chargers
  • Geothermal piping and drilling
  • Energy recovery ventilation

Key terms:

  • Geothermal Piping and Drilling: A path of pipes that travel deep enough to reach the zone that stays at this constant temperature. This loop of pipes contains water or a mixture of water and antifreeze. This loop system circulates the liquid and either brings heat to the geothermal system or cools it down.
  • Energy Recovery Ventilation: Exchanges the energy contained in normally exhausted air of a building or conditioned space, using it to treat (precondition) the incoming outdoor ventilation air improving indoor air quality, and reducing total HVAC equipment loads, thereby reducing energy consumption.

“The CCEF requirements were all really manageable and reasonable. Everyone along the way has been super excited and supportive. It was helpful have people who know so much about so many aspects of the project.”

– Kari Palazzi, Executive Director of Studio Arts Boulder

The Story

Colorado Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) recently financed more than $1 million for Studio Arts Boulder to implement clean energy measures, including solar PV; EV charging; geothermal piping and drilling; ground source heat pumps; and energy recovery ventilation on a new 12,000 square foot community art education center in Boulder, Colorado.

This modern non-profit studio arts organization dates back to the mid-1950s when the original pottery lab was founded by Betty Woodman, a world-renowned ceramic artist, who was the director for several years. After moving the pottery lab to a local fire station in Boulder, Colorado, where it remains to this day. Studio Arts Boulder was founded in 2009 by individuals associated with the pottery lab who wanted to expand the organization. The idea was to create a campus where anyone and everyone could use these art spaces and learn art forms like ceramics, woodworking, blacksmithing, “warm” glass, and printmaking. In 2016, a land developer donated a 0.7-acre piece of land to Studio Arts Boulder to create their vision.

Studio Arts Boulder was advised by David Barrett, the architect that designed the studio, to instate energy updates that the buildings were already designed to install. Barrett designed Studio Arts Boulder in the north facing daylight for optimum lighting for art-making, creating a slope for solar. The land also had extra space for a geothermal field, so they decided to take this opportunity for geothermal drilling to improve their energy efficiency. This new construction project was proactively designed with sustainability in mind. It is an all-electric building and includes site-based architectural design elements that consider building orientation and solar access.

Studio Arts Boulder approached CCEF for upfront funding for these energy updates, totaling more than $1,000,000 in financing for green energy systems from CCEF in addition to other funding sources. Studio Arts Boulder will save an exponential amount of operating costs in the future that the organization will be able to put back into programs.

“The Boulder Studio Arts project is truly a pioneer when it comes to its design and vision for how it will serve the surrounding community,” said Paul Scharfenberger, CCEF Chief Executive Officer. “The project integrates several innovative energy measures and systems that go beyond the strict energy codes required by Boulder, and, as a result, provides a great example of ingenuity for others to follow.”

These energy updates are projected to reduce Studio Arts Boulder’s annual costs and allow them to pour more money into their programs. Palazzi shares that she hopes Studio Arts Boulder can become a model for other organizations to follow for their own energy installations. With CCEF’s low-interest financing, Studio Arts Boulder can continue to curb long-term debt and create beautiful artwork.

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