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Pikes Peak Charrette

Black & White Image of the Pikes Peak Summit House

Pikes Peak, Colorado, has been a popular vacation destination since the late 1800s. The Summit House contains a visitors' center and other utility buildings. Built in 1964, the House is now too small to handle the one-half million visitors it receives each summer. In addition, improper thermodynamic engineering during construction has triggered a melting of the permafrost, resulting in an uneven and unpredictable sinking of the House.

To assist with planning a new Pikes Peak Summit House (shown above), teams from the Laboratory Technical Assistance Program (LabTAP) and the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) of the U.S. Department of Energy helped the Pikes Peak Preservation Director organize and conduct a design charrette. From March 25 to 27, 1998, participants from several national laboratories, including EETD's Applications Team, and federal and local agencies explored options regarding energy-efficient building design, on-site energy alternatives, sustainable transportation options, and water-supply and resource-efficiency issues.

Some of the high-priority recommendations brought forth include reducing heating energy use with demand-controlled systems, optimizing building-control systems (such as lighting), and developing high-R insulation systems that prevent the interior heat from being transmitted to the permafrost. Other less critical but worthwhile measures could include installing passive refrigerators that use outside air, radiant heating, and compact fluorescent lamps and photovoltaic panels.

EETD Applications Team head Dale Sartor noted that the charrette demonstrated DOE's capability to deploy a multidisciplinary team from several of its national laboratories. This can be a great help to local communities in implementing sustainable design practices.

— Ted Gartner

For more information, contact:

  • Dale Sartor
  • (510) 486-5988; fax (510) 486-4089

This research is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and the Laboratory Technical Assistance Program (LabTAP), a project of the Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development.

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