A new, 53,000-square-foot building in Aspen is set to become one of the first multi-family structures to run entirely on electricity and solar energy in Colorado. The $19 million project, funded by Aspen Skiing Company and set to open in early June 2021, is a response to the area’s affordable housing and climate crises.
Although Aspen remains one of the country’s most visited vacation destinations, the rising popularity has resulted in higher housing prices and a difficult market for its full-time and seasonal working residents, many of whom are employed by the local tourism industry. While there is a housing market dedicated to local workers, much of this housing has turned into retirement homes. Another issue is childcare, as real estate prices keep daycare facilities from both opening and operating.
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The all-electric affordable housing complex, dubbed the Hub at Willits, will set aside 138 beds for Aspen Skiing Company employees. Additionally, the project will include eight deed-restricted units to be held and offered to non-company employees for the purpose of leasing, giving priority to tenants who work in childcare professions. Resident employees will also receive free bus passes (the hub is close to the local bus system) in an effort to alleviate traffic congestion and promote the use of public transportation. Residents will also have access to an onsite bike-share system and electric vehicle charging stations.
By constructing the units on local utility company Holy Cross Energy’s power grid, the building will have a net-zero carbon footprint on opening day. Holy Cross Energy is committed to becoming 100% renewable by the year 2030, creating a solid sustainability investment for the future. Efficient, electric cold climate heat pumps contribute to heating and cooling and supply the building with its hot water, while the 80 kW rooftop solar array will help offset at least 30% of the building’s energy load.
Images courtesy of Aspen Snowmass