Sustainable design and development is integrated into the core thinking and methodology of the Wellington Neighborhood project team. In addition to Wolff Lyon Architects' extensive expertise, the Wellington Neighborhood design / construction team worked with the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to have the Wellington affordable housing plans reviewed and critiqued to maximize energy efficiency and sustainability.
An understanding of the benefits of sustainability has been part of the Wolff Lyon tradition since their beginnings in the mid-70's when solar energy applications first captured the imagination of designers and builders. Perhaps due to the firm's location in Boulder, which has taken the issue of sustainability seriously for many years, energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, and recycling have been important components of our design solutions for years. Many techniques that are now part of "Green Points" programs in many cities and the LEED check list (such as solar orientation, passive solar gain, compact and efficient building envelopes, recycling through construction, indoor air quality measures, increased insulation levels, etc.) have been standard practice for Wolff-Lyon Architects for some time. In the last ten years Wolff-Lyon attention to good sustainable design has also been directed to the community level where they have been strong advocates of an urbanism that promotes a compact, diverse, walkable, affordable, mixed-use urban form. They have promoted master plans and design standards that through mixed-use and mixed-density create neighborhoods that are less dependent on fossil fuels. And, they look for opportunities where an individual design approach may have multiple benefits. For instance neighborhood design solutions that incorporate narrower streets may help reduce infrastructure costs, reduce car speeds increasing safety and livability, and encourage residents to walk more while using their cars less.
At Wellington, we have taken an area that has been damaged by historic mining activity, reclaimed it and then created a neighborhood with a sense of community and place. We have also explored innovative construction practices to minimize our environmental impact. For instance, almost all road base and select back fill have been crushed and manufactured on site; thereby eliminating literally thousands of truck trips through the adjoining French Creek Village neighborhood. Homes, streets and alleys have been oriented to provide for maximum solar benefit thereby providing warmth to homes and promoting snow melt on streets and alleys. Particular attention has been provided to building envelopes as well as indoor appliances.
Finally, perhaps 80% of any neighborhood's carbon footprint comes from the residents' automobile commuting patterns. By being located on public transportation within a couple of miles of downtown, City Market, the Recreation Center and the gondola, the Wellington Neighborhood provides the opportunity to minimize, if not all but eliminate, reliance on the automobile.