Bluebonnet Studios | Zero Net Commons
Bluebonnet Studios is a four stories above grade building mixed residential and commercial space. With three stories of residential apartments (107 units) over approximately 10,000 ft2 of common space. With a strong commitment to green building and sustainable development practices, Foundation Communities takes the next step in affordable, sustainable performance with Bluebonnet Studios. The 4 story building contains 107 efficiency units atop a first for affordable housing – an amenity area designed for next zero energy.
Integral Group led the design team through a series of sustainability charrettes and provided energy modeling services for the project. The project will be seeking Zero Net Energy certification under the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) certification program. ILFI Zero Net certification prohibits the use of fossil fuels and any on site renewables must be limited to a proportional roof area of the building to ensure the remaining complex is “zero net” capable sometime in the future. The project presented several challenges– understanding the scheduling and energy consumption for a space that is accessible 24/7, code restrictions on reducing glazing at street level and the main building laundry room located on the ground floor. Integral Group worked closely with Foundation Communities to develop schedules that reflected actual building usage based on existing facilities and incorporated these into the energy model. Early energy modeling identified the areas where glazing reduction and shading was critical and those areas where the code required transparency could be accommodated.
Whole building modeling, including the residential units, was used to identify the envelope construction that would deliver the highest performance value for the capital investment. Integral explored with the team the use of various energy recovery systems to provide ventilation air to the residential units to maximize performance for the cost of the system.
Bluebonnet Studios is a leading example of how high performance and even Zero Net can be achieved with little to no cost premium.