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City to Conduct Net Zero Energy Analysis of Alpine-Balsam Site

A new analysis of Alpine-Balsam, the former hospital campus, will study future energy options for the city-owned property.

The study will determine whether the site can be “net-zero,” producing as much energy on-site as it uses, while also delivering affordable energy solutions for the future site occupants.

Specifically, the analysis will explore the feasibility of a combination of solutions such as electric and thermal microgrids, geothermal, solar and battery storage systems to serve the site. Recommendations will inform infrastructure investments and funding opportunities that contribute to Boulder's Climate Commitment, resilience and affordable housing goals.

“The city has a great opportunity at Alpine-Balsam to pursue multiple city goals by incorporating sustainable practices, affordable housing and safe, welcoming city services,” said Project Manager Amanda Bevis Cole. “We look forward to learning more about what’s possible at the site.”

This study will build on the practices already being implemented in city facilities. The Brenton building, located on the Alpine-Balsam site, was renovated in 2018 for city office space to be near net-zero and became the city’s first all-electric building. The Brenton building renovation has been the first step in Alpine-Balsam’s efforts to explore energy efficient development solutions.

Engineering firm WSP is conducting the feasibility analysis. The analysis and recommendations, including estimated costs, are expected in the first quarter of 2021.

Alpine-Balsam Background
The Alpine-Balsam property, formerly the Boulder Community Health hospital, was purchased by the City of Boulder in 2015. The 8.8-acre property is located between Alpine and Balsam avenues, between Broadway and 9th streets, as well as properties on the eastern portion of the block between Alpine Avenue and North Street.

The strategic investment was motivated in part by the desire to shape the redevelopment of an area that has been focused around a major healthcare facility for decades, and in part to address the city’s decentralized service and office challenges by creating a Western City Campus.

The Alpine-Balsam Area Plan was adopted by City Council in October 2019 and creates the vision for the site to transform into a mixed use area of market-rate and affordable housing and the Western City Campus.

The city is currently working on interior deconstruction of the main hospital building. Simultaneously, the city is preparing for infrastructure improvements, analyzing housing financing scenarios and will soon be starting the design of the Pavilion office building renovation and making zoning changes identified in the Area Plan.

Visit the Alpine-Balsam Implementation webpage to learn more.

Published: Sept. 2, 2020

Media Contacts:

Julie Causa, Media Relations, 719-396-1733
Emily Sandoval, Climate Initiatives, 970-210-1225