Renewable Energy Used in Three New County Buildings

Eco-Station Administration. Courtesy/LAC


The County has recently completed Solar Thermal Hot Water Systems for the Animal Shelter, Justice Center and Eco-Station Administration buildings.

In an effort to meet the County’s goals for commitment to sustainability and hydrocarbon independence initiatives, the County accepted grants of $103,000 for both the Animal Shelter and Justice Center in June 2010.

The grants were funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

An additional $100,000 grant was received in 2006 from the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department for the Eco-Admin Station.  

What was accomplished?

Justice Center & Animal Shelter Buildings:

Los Alamos Justice Center Building. Courtesy/LAC

A solar thermal system was retro-fitted individually to the Justice Center and Animal Shelter buildings that heats the domestic hot water and also provides any excess solar heat to the HVAC to augment space heating. Both installations meet the Buy American Act. For the Animal Shelter, the designing engineer predicts that the system will annually generate 51,700 kBTUs of renewable energy, saving $450 in energy bills, and reducing the carbon footprint by 6,000 pounds of CO2. The Justice Center is expected to produce 230,000 kBTUs of renewable energy, saving $2,000 in energy bills and reducing the carbon footprint by over 26,000 pounds of CO2. The Justice Center has applied for LEED Gold certification and is awaiting notification of approval. 

Eco-Station Administration Building:

Eco-Station Administration Building. Courtesy/LAC

In 2012, upgrades and improvements were made to the Eco-Station Administration Building’s solar thermal heating and cooling system. Eighteen new metal Night Sky Radiant Cooling panels have been installed to replace the plastic panels which were destroyed by a severe hailstorm shortly after the system was put into service in 2009. Several attempts were made to salvage and repair the existing roof top equipment and controls. These efforts were ultimately unsuccessful due to the extreme damage.  These panels, along with a new computer controller, will enable the solar thermal system to not only provide heat and domestic hot water, but also to deliver cooled fluid into the radiant floor system, helping to alleviate cooling costs during the summer months. The new logic-based controller facilitates a higher degree of efficiency and flexibility while providing more data monitoring capabilities. The building was awarded LEED Silver Certification in 2009.

For additional information, call the Capital Projects & Facilities Department at 505-662-8112 or send an email to Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

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