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Condos to run on renewable power

53-unit building in Snowmass expected to open in 2023 By Joe Rubino The Denver Post

Developers soon will break ground on a 53-unit condo building at the base of the Snowmass Ski Area that will run entirely on renewable, electric power.

It’s the latest example of a growing trend in new construction in a part of Colorado confronted with a changing climate and reliant on snowy winters to power its tourism economy.

The forthcoming Electric Pass Lodge takes its name from an actual mountain pass south of Snowmass Village. Its power, meanwhile, will come from a rooftop solar array and other renewable sources of electricity available through local utility Holy Cross Energy, according to developer East West Partners.

Building structures to LEED program sustainability standards has become commonplace for East West, said Andy Gunion, the company’s managing partner in the Roaring Fork Valley. The company said the entirety of Snowmass Base Village, the $600 million ski resort development of which Electric Pass Lodge will be a part, is LEED-certified. But the condo project goes beyond that.

“I have been living in ski resorts for 20 years, and we’re somewhat of the canaries in the coal mine in terms of climate change and our livelihoods,” Gunion said. “If you really look at the climate issue and how buildings contribute to this, the only way is to build them is to make them 100% powered by electricity and then, either up front or over time, make sure that electricity comes from renewable sources.”

East West is budgeting $50 million to build the ski-in, ski-out building, with construction set to break ground in April. Gunion said he is still working on the numbers but that price is not expected to be a higher than what it would cost to build a structure that relies on fossil-fuel-powered systems.

“Money that would go to gas boilers and things like that you relocate and spend it on a really good building envelope,” Gunion said. “Triple-pane windows with really good seals, really good insulation.”

One design feature that will not only boost the building’s efficiency but also lines up with COVID19 safety protocols is a mechanical system that continuously cycles fresh air into each unit, using tubes that pass through the earth and heat-transfer technology to heat and cool the condo units while also continuously ventilating them, Gunion said.

Units in Electric Pass Lodge

 

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