Buildings for the 21st Century Newsletter, Fall 2000 Page: 1 of 4
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SFall 2000 News You Can Use
Office of Building
Technology, State and
New High-Performance Building
Keeps Zion Visitors Comfortable
Although summer temperatures at Zion National Park in southern
Utah can soar above 110 F, park visitors are staying cool in the new
visitor center, dedicated on May 26. Instead of conventional air
conditioning, the visitor's center uses passive downdraft cooltowers,
which use much less energy. By replacing energy-intensive building
components with energy-efficient ones, this new high-performance
building will reduce energy use by over 70 percent (compared to
a standard building design) without sacrificing comfort.
Buildings energy experts from the National Renewable Energy
Laboratory and BTS helped incorporate cutting-edge technologies
into the Zion Canyon Visitor Center complex, at the heart
of the park's new shuttle-bus transportation system. More than
2.5 million people visit the canyon each year, and many will
pass through this attractive model of energy-efficient design.
Signage and brochures inform park visitors about the
complex's energy-efficient features.
The National Park Service and DOE project team applied
principles of sustainable design to the visitor center, Ea
using daylighting, insulation, a Trombe wall, optimized air
shade overhangs, cooltowers, natural ventilation, thermal one
mass flooring, energy-efficient landscaping, and a
state-of-the-art, energy-management computer.
rch Cpetowr generates 5,000 cubic feet of
flow per minute into the building, using only a
e-half horsepower pump for water circulation.
Window placement for daylighting uses natural light while minimizing
glare and heat gain in the summer. When more light is needed, the
building's computer adjusts electric lights to provide just the right
amount of additional light. Only energy-efficient
fluorescent lamps and high-intensity discharge
lamps are used in the building.
The building's computer also controls natural
ventilation to maximize comfort while minimizin
energy costs. The computer opens the clerestory
windows to exhaust hot air. When this ventilation
is not enough, the computer activates the passive
These energy-efficient features are expected to
save about $16,000 per year in energy costs for
the 7,600-ft2 (706-m2) visitor center. Photovoltai
panels on the south roof meet approximately
one-third of the electrical load and save another
$1,000 per year.
For more information, visit the BTS High
Performance Buildings Web site at
www.eren. doe.gov/ buildings!highperformance/.
- - - a - --
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The Trombe wall in the new Zion Canyon Visitor Center has two lower rows of
windows that are single glazed high-transmittancenpatterned glass. Above the
windows the length and position of the overhangs, dictated by the latitude
and climate of Zion shade the wall during hot summer months.
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Tromly, K. Buildings for the 21st Century Newsletter, Fall 2000, book, October 19, 2000; Golden, Colorado. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc724087/m1/1/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.