1325 East 16th Ave, Denver, CO 80218

Group14 Bolsters Building Enclosure Capabilities with Strategic Hire 

Alex Kosis, P.E. has joined Group14 Engineering, PBC to lead our building enclosure consulting.  Alex has over 13 years of experience in the field and has worked on hundreds of BECx projects.  He has designed, investigated, and rehabilitated building enclosure systems of all types. 

Alex is a recognized expert in the field of roofing, weatherproofing and hygrothermal analysis. He is an active member of ASTM D08 – Committee for Roofing and Waterproofing.  He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architectural engineering from Pennsylvania State University. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Alex to the team, and we are confident his enclosure expertise and leadership will be a tremendous asset as we move forward on a path to expand our building enclosure offerings,” said Matt Cooper, Group14’s Commissioning Director. 

In his new role with Group14, Alex will provide services related to new and existing installations of enclosure systems, emphasizing the design and quality assurance required for a sound building envelope.  

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We sat down with Alex to learn more about why BECx is so vital to the building process, his favorite project and why he is excited about working at Group14. 

Why is building envelope commissioning (BECx) such an integral part of the building process? 

Water intrusion accounts for over 70% of all construction claims, whereas the building enclosure typically accounts for only 10-25% of a building’s initial cost. BECx helps reduce the disproportionate risk associated with the construction of building enclosure systems, with the additional benefits of improved energy performance and occupant comfort.

How many enclosure projects have you worked on, and do you have a favorite?

I’ve worked on hundreds of enclosure projects over my career. My favorite project is the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University. In addition to being the only project in my career that I spent over 2,000 hours on, the entire project team rallied behind the mission and importance of the project to the surrounding community. The building enclosure design made no sacrifices in aesthetics or performance and the end result was a LEED Platinum project that serves as a landmark on Stanford’s campus and the Bay Area as a whole.

What is the most important step in or aspect of the BECx process? 

Establishing a basis-of-design, and the associated performance expectations, at the front end of a project with the Owner, Design Team, and Construction Team. It’s important to understand that there’s no “one size fits all” with enclosure design.

What excites you most about working for Group14? 

I’ve always enjoyed working with motivated and talented teams to complete the projects that ultimately form the skyline and fabric of the communities that I’ve lived in. At Group14, I’m also able to gain satisfaction knowing that I work for an organization that is pushing the industry toward greener building practices, from design through occupancy. 

Finally, how did you end up in Denver, and how do you spend your time away from work?

Like many in Denver, I moved here seeking the mountains and sunny weather. On weekends, you can probably find me road tripping with my vintage camper, hiking, skiing, fly fishing, or binge-watching true crime shows. During the week, I try to sweat at least once a day (exclusive of project deadlines), read, walk my dog, and cook.

Catalyst HTI Awarded Prestigious WELL Core & Shell Certification

Group14 is proud to announce one of its sustainability projects, Catalyst Health-Tech Innovation, has achieved WELL Core & Shell Certification at the Silver Level.  The prestigious certification was awarded by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

Designed by the Beck Group, the 180,000-square-foot, seven-story core and shell office building includes numerous design elements that promote the health and well-being of its occupants.

To be awarded WELL Core & Shell Certification, Catalyst HTI underwent rigorous testing and evaluations, earning the distinction based on seven categories —Air, Water, Light, Nourishment, Fitness, Comfort and Mind.  

Features that helped the project achieve WELL Silver Certification include:

  • Light: The facility was designed with large, fixed windows to take advantage of site orientation and capture natural light. Lighting systems were also designed to minimize glare caused by electric light sources.
  • Air: The building promotes clean air through a variety of measures. These measures include moisture management, VOC reduction and construction pollution management.
  • Water Quality:  Safe and clean water was achieved through the implementation of filtration techniques that eliminated contaminants.
  • Opportunities for Fitness: The office features a bike shop, ample bicycle storage, a workout area and locker rooms.

Located in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood, Catalyst HTI is a one-of-a-kind, co-working office that brings together health care entities, tech companies, nonprofits and academic organizations under one roof.

Study Finds Energy Policy Discourages All-Electric Buildings

The state is constructing tens of thousands of new buildings that cost more to build and lock in higher CO2 emissions all amid growing efforts to accelerate emission reductions

A report commissioned by Community Energy and prepared by Group14 finds that the upfront cost to build new residential buildings with all-electric space and water heating is roughly 25% less expensive than comparable equipment powered by natural gas. Similar, but smaller percentage savings arise for new all-electric commercial buildings. This shift to all-electric has not yet occurred, however, principally because current electricity rates and rebate programs for all-electric systems in Colorado produce higher total costs.

Prepared by Group 14 Engineering, the report further concludes that once buildings are constructed, the economics of retrofitting from natural gas to all-electric are far more difficult — bordering on cost prohibitive. As a result, Colorado is currently building tens of thousands of new residential and commercial buildings that both cost more and lock in higher CO2 emissions for the majority of a building’s +50-year life.

“Colorado spent over $16 billion on new residential and commercial construction in 2019, with the overwhelming majority of these new buildings relying on natural gas,” said Eric Blank, Co-Founder and Director of Community Energy, Inc. “Colorado has a near-term opportunity to modify its energy rates and rebate programs to encourage building electrification and accelerate the clean energy transition.”

Through a detailed economic case study of an individual single-family residence and commercial building in Colorado, the report shows that the state can quickly modify its rates and rebates to make all-electric the most cost-effective choice. This would begin to move new construction toward all-electric, enabling a low-carbon future.

“Simple changes today can make a large difference in realizing the low-hanging fruit of electrifying new building construction and reducing carbon emissions, all while providing comparable comfort and service,” said the report’s lead author Celeste Cizik, Principal at Group14 Engineering.

About Community Energy:

For more than twenty years, Community Energy has partnered with utilities, Fortune 500 companies and local communities to develop roughly 2,000 MW of wind and solar, representing a close to $4 Billion investment. As an early entrant in commercializing clean energy, Community Energy leverages emerging technologies and resources to support decarbonization of our energy systems and promote fuel-free approaches. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, with offices in Boulder, Colorado and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Community Energy has a strong presence in diverse geographical markets. For more information about Community Energy please visit www.communityenergyinc.com.

About Group14 Engineering

Group14 Engineering is a nationally recognized engineering and sustainability consulting firm delivering technical expertise, practical solutions and innovative best practices in the built environment that benefit developers, building owners, their occupants and society throughout the life-cycle of the building. Group14’s mission is to transform the built environment to realize a more resilient future. Based in Denver and in business since 1992, Group14 Engineering brings solutions to projects throughout the United States.  For more information about Group14 Engineering, please visit www.group14eng.com.

Group14 Celebrates Earth Day

LEEDv4 Office Tour: Join Group14 at Rocky Mountain Green

Take a Tour of a LEEDv4 Gold Office!

Group14 has taken the plunge to LEEDv4. Our first project under the new version was with Davis Partnership for the build-out of their new office space on Blake Street in Denver’s RiNo Art District. Group14 functioned as the LEED and energy consultant and commissioning agent. The project targeted a LEEDv4 for Commercial Interiors Gold rating. Group14 and Davis Partnership will be hosting a presentation and tour of the space for the USGBC Colorado 2017 Rocky Mountain Green Conference slated for April 26, 2017. The Project Manager and Project Architect of Davis in conjunction with the Group14 LEED consultant and Commissioning Agent will lead the event. The presentation will highlight the achievements of the project and lend insight into lessons learned for future v4 projects. Come listen as we describe how an integrated approach to the project helped shape the finished product and how the team as a whole was willing to go above and beyond a typical design process to create a healthy environment and sustainable space.

While Group14 was well versed in the changes to LEED, it was the first version 4 project for the entire design team and an exciting learning experience. Despite the learning curve, the project was a success and is expected to achieve LEED-CI Gold status by the end of April 2017.

Occupant Well-being and the Modern Office Building

The scope of the project involved new mechanical, electrical, lighting, and plumbing systems with minimal envelope updates (save better glazing in clearstory with less solar heat gain and interior acoustic insulation in the roof). The chosen mechanical system is underfloor air distribution. One of the most valuable and progressive components to the office is the many movable partitions and flexible work spaces thanks to the UAFD system. Spaces can be changed as the company grows to fit the needs of the staff. To offset energy, the lighting is entirely LED, and daylighting strategies were implemented to reduce the amount of electric lighting utilized.

The team was dedicated to indoor air quality and occupant well-being. This is represented in the biophilic features incorporated into the project, which will be highlighted on the tour, and through finishes, furniture, and mechanical filters. To highlight the biophilic features of the space, there is a 20 foot plant wall in the center point of the office and dozens of plants in the open office area to reduce CO2 levels, purify the air, and improve productivity. Davis Architecture pursed the WELL Building Standard biophilia credit, earning a point under the Innovation and Design category for the Interior Design & Construction (ID&C) rating system. To enhance indoor air quality, MERV 13 filters were installed on all of the ERVs. Illumination level control and thermal comfort control was achieved through the installation of the underfloor air distribution system and individual task lighting respectively.

Navigating the New Materials Credits

Some of the most talked about changes to LEEDv4 are in the materials credit category. Through this project, the team learned new information and developed best practices for future projects. Architects have more responsibility when it comes to specifying materials under LEEDv4. The team recommends that projects consider having several material specific meetings early in design to ensure compliance with the building product disclosure and optimization credits. Blanket statements in specifications for the inclusion of projects that have Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), Heath Product Declarations (HPDs), and other criteria can cause submittal reviews difficulties. As an example, teams should outline what 20 materials and five manufacturers will have EPDs and provide limited products for contractors to choose from. Teams will need to allocate additional time to review submittals until manufacturers learn what is necessary for documentation. Several products were listed as LEEDv4 compliant on cutsheets without providing evidence that they meet credit requirements, thus requiring the team to contact manufacturers for confirmation of material compliance.

Please join us for the tour and presentation at Davis Partnership on April 26th, 2017. The address is 2901 Blake Street and the tour will begin promptly at 2 PM MST. You can register for this event at http://www.usgbc.org/event/rocky-mountain-green-2017

Group14 & the Living Building Challenge Collaborative March of Climate Change

Following Rocky Mountain Green on Saturday April 29th, Group14 Engineering, the Colorado Living Building Challenge Collaborative, and other like-minded individuals will gather at Civic Center Park to participate in the People’s Climate March on Denver. Join us in telling our elected officials on all levels that our environment matters! We will meet in front of Group14’s office, 1325 E. 16th Avenue at 9:30am to walk to Denver Civic Center together. The march will begin at 10 AM.

If you would like to learn more about our Sustainability services and our LEED experience, visit our Sustainability services page: https://www.group14eng.com/services/sustainability/

Group14’s Phin Stubbs Becomes WELL AP

We are proud to announce our own Phin Stubbs as the first WELL AP on our staff! When asked about this accomplishment, Phin pointed to the importance of health and wellness, “The WELL AP was important for me to demonstrate my extensive knowledge of sustainability not just through the built environment’s impact on the planet, but also on human health and wellness.”

Group14 has been at the forefront of promoting sustainable practices that save energy, reduce toxic material emissions, and improve indoor air quality. The WELL Building Standard is the first building standard addressing human health and wellness, a major component to sustainability, and thus, it is important to have WELL APs on staff to show our commitment to this standard. By passing this exam, Phin adds implementing WELL-based systems for buildings to the ways in which he can add value our clients.

From the International WELL Building Institute website: “The way that buildings are designed,
constructed and maintained impacts the way we sleep, what we eat, and how we feel. The WELL Building Standard uses innovative, research-backed strategies to advance health, happiness, mindfulness and productivity in our buildings and communities.” WELL looks at seven concepts to in measuring a buildings impact. The seven concepts are air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, mind, and innovation.

To learn more about our WELL and Sustainability experience, visit our Sustainability Services Page: https://www.group14eng.com/services/sustainability/

Group14 Remains LEED Platinum!

Group14 has kept our LEED Platinum Certification up to date via the LEED Dynamic Plaque! We achieved a verified performance score of 87, which visibly demonstrates our team’s leadership and commitment to high performance buildings.

Living Our Mission & Staying Green

One of the best things about Group14 is we continue to live the mission we sell to our clients. Why would you listen to us if we didn’t lead by example? Tell us what you are doing to stay green. Tell us how sustainability is affecting you projects and your community.

We Did Some Math

Based on our completed LEED projects our sustainability team has saved (using the EPA greenhouse gas equivalents). See our amazing results below!

Greenhouse gasses equivalent to:

  • 4,421 average passenger vehicles
  • 50,271,301 miles driven in a year by those vehicles

CO2 emissions equivalent to:

  • 2,376,278 gallons of gasoline consumed
  • 22,684,0000 lbs of coal burned
  • 276 tanker trucks worth of gasoline
  • 1,928 average homes energy use
  • 2,906 homes electricity use in one year
  • 5.47 wind turbines installed
  • 8,519 railcars worth of burned coal
  • 55,1835 incandescent lamps switched to CFLs
  • 48,984 barrels of oil

Carbon sequestered equivalent to:

  • 541,802 tree seedlings grown for ten years
  • 17,244 acres of U.S.

Bike to Work Day 2015

Happy Bike to Work Day 2015! This year Group14 had over 230 riders through our stop out in front of our LEED Platinum office building (thanks to our neighborhood partners Zip Car, Bicycle Cafe, and Flying Baron Coffee Roasters). We also had 21 employees use their pedal power to make it in to work today.

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