During project planning, it became apparent that MCV’s energy goals could not be attained with rooftop solar alone, as the Boulder Commons structures are four-story buildings located in a cold climate and require significant energy. The solution was to install 101 kW of vertically mounted solar panels on the southeast-facing facade, in addition to 217 kW on the roof.
To help bring this unique building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) project from concept to completion, MCV called on national solar provider Pivot Energy, Colorado architect Coburn and solar engineering BIPV specialist Solmotiv. Together, the team designed and developed a customized vertical facade and ballasted rooftop solar PV system that generates a total of 318 kW, helping MCV achieve its goal of making Boulder Commons a high-performance building.
“We were thrilled when Pivot Energy stepped up to the challenge of helping engineer and construct the vertical array,” says Matthew Beery, MCV’s director of construction. “Other developers were hesitant to test the waters of designing a vertical facade, but the Pivot team was eager to do whatever it took to help us meet our goals.”
Key players in the design and development of Boulder Commons also see the project as an exciting look at a new paradigm for truly sustainable building design.
“Helping MCV achieve its high-performance energy goals for this unique project was tremendous, and the additional 101 kW on the vertical facade was critical to this outcome,” observes Mat Elmore, Pivot Energy’s vice president of business development. “It is estimated that the entire system will save an equivalent of 4,384 metric tons of CO2 over 20 years, which is like taking 953 cars off the road. Boulder Commons again demonstrates how ambitious goals and creative design can unlock a future of truly sustainable buildings.”