HRCA Going Green

HRCA Going Green

 Eastridge Live Solar Gauge - click 

The HRCA continues to strive daily in setting the standards for a “greener” community by continually researching opportunities to make the HRCA more energy efficient, not just short-term, but long-term as well. The completion of a large Energy Savings Project (see details) now saves the HRCA approximately $173,000 per year in utility costs, and is equivalent to a reduction of 6.4 million vehicle miles driven. Examples of the 'going green' effort include:

  • Installation of efficient water heating systems
  •  Westridge Live Solar Gauge - click 

  • Use water saving for toilets, urinals, sinks, and showers
  • Use solar panels at the Recreation Centers at Eastridge and Westridge
  • Purchase and lease hybrid vehicles 
  • Program HVAC units to heat and cool as needed 
  • Use energy efficient lighting and motion sensors in all recreation centers 
  • Recycle electronics, paper, plastics, dry cell batteries, and aluminum
  • Use mulching mowers 
  • Use computerized weather based irrigation controllers for landscapes 
  • Maintain a Xeriscape demonstration garden at the Recreation Center at Eastridge 
  • Maintain native grasses around the Recreation Center at Southridge
  • Host annual community electronics recycling drop-off events

see more examples and details on HRCA's energy conservation efforts

HRCA Energy Conservation Details

The HRCA strives daily to become more energy efficient. In addition to adding solar panels to two Recreation Centers and leasing hybrid vehicles, the HRCA, in partnership with the State of Colorado Energy Office just completed a large energy savings project, detailed here:

Energy Project - Saving Measures

Mechanical insulation - Added to space heating and domestic hot water piping/equipment at Southridge.

Chiller upgrades - Replaced (2) 50 Ton Chillers from the 1980’s with (2) new energy efficient 50 Ton Air Cooled Chillers at Northridge.

Pool air handling unit upgrades - Replaced (2) original pool air-handling units (Eastridge) with (2) highly energy efficient units equipped with indirect gas heaters, no mechanical cooling, and a glycol loop air-to-air heat recovery system.
-Consolidated (3) out of date air handling units at Northridge with a single highly energy efficient air handling unit similar to the new ones at Eastridge.

Air de-stratification – Installed thermal equalizers throughout the Southridge Great Hall with the very high ceiling. They were also installed in the Westridge Cardio/Weight Area.

Building automation systems – Computerized controls were installed at all four facilities to optimize energy performance of select air-handling units.

Lighting upgrades – Replaced original lighting with new energy efficient fixtures, bulbs, and ballasts at the Northridge Tennis Pavilion as well as the Westridge Cardio/Weight Area. Lighting upgrades were also made to the Westridge Outdoor Tennis Courts.

Pool pump flow – Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) were installed on select pool filter pumps to save electricity at all four facilities.

Water conservation - Toilets, urinals, sinks, and showers were retrofitted with low water flow devices to reduce water consumption at all four facilities.

Additional practices the HRCA has put into place include:

  • Light motion sensors have been installed in all areas of the facilities where the occupancy is very limited (storage closets, back hallways, etc).
  • Incandescent lights have been replaced with CFL lights throughout the facilities.
  • Where feasible, larger wattage, hotter burning Metal Halide lamps have been reduced to lower wattage lamps that burn cooler and use less energy but still provide enough light to ensure a safe environment. 
  • All rec centers have several areas retrofitted with more energy efficient lighting (gyms, racquetball courts, locker rooms, etc.)
  • All facilities are equipped with timers that operate the exterior lighting and are programmed to only come on during certain times of the morning and night. Exterior lights are programmed to stay off during early and Holiday closures
  • All facilities recycle the lamps that are replaced - CFL's and Halide lamps need to be disposed of properly, not just thrown into a dumpster.


  • HVAC or rooftop units provide the heating and cooling to the facilities and are maintained and serviced at a high level.
  • These units operate on time-of-day, days-of-the-week, and on individual zones which allow the units to heat or cool a space as needed. Heating and cooling setpoints are strictly monitored to maximize the efficiency of each unit.
  • At the end of each business day, the HVAC units will go into an "unoccupied" mode which basically shuts down the unit until the next day when the time-of-day schedule kicks in. The HVAC units are also programmed to stay off anytime a facility has an early or a Holiday closure.
  • In September 2010, the Eastridge gym was equipped with 12 thermal equalizers, or small fans that equalize the air temperature from floor to ceiling throughout the gym to maintain a comfortable temperature. Each thermal equalizer uses about three watts of power with the goal of using less energy from the gym's HVAC unit. These thermal equalizers have allowed us to keep the heating setpoint at a low level and the cooling setpoint at a higher level. At this time, the only part of the HVAC unit that is running is the dampers that allow fresh air to circulate through the unit and into the gym. Since installation, the gym space has maintained a space temperature of 70 degrees without the use of heat or cooling from the unit. The energy saving thermal equalizers are doing all the work. Thermal equalizers have also been installed in high ceiling areas of all rec centers.


  • Each irrigation system has a sophisticated computerized irrigation controller that closely monitors the weather conditions and allows water to flow accordingly. 
  • Irrigation systems at each facility are carefully programmed to provide the right amount of water needed for the turf areas.. Depending on the type of irrigation head (pop-ups or rotors) each zone is carefully programmed to avoid "soaking" an area. Instead of watering an area for 30 minutes, a zone may be programmed for 10-15 minutes to avoid unnecessary run off.
  • The Xeriscape garden at Eastridge is a prime example of plant life that thrives no matter what the conditions - special care has been taken to select the right plant for each area of the garden.
  • The Xeriscape garden uses minimal water.


  • The HRCA has implemented recycling practices at each of the rec centers, anywhere from trash waste to paper and battery recycling.
  • Each facility has a recycling dumpster that allows for single-stream recycling. Single-stream recycling allows the HRCA to place any type of recycling item into one container which saves time and man power from separating each item. Each facility has single-stream recycling containers throughout the building for staff and members.
  • The HRCA also practices battery recycling at each recreation center. Battery buckets are in different areas of the facility where a staff member can dispose of a battery. Once these buckets are filled, they are placed in a recycling container and disposed of properly. The HRCA will recycle dry cell batteries (9-volt, AA, AAA, etc.), lead batteries (think of your car battery - some type of battery that contains liquid) and tool batteries (any cordless tool).
  • Since the use of office paper is a large part of any business, the term "Just read it, don't print it" has become standard practice at the HRCA. When practical, many documents are scanned into the computer and saved for future reference.

HRCA, thanks all residents and staff members who continually do their part in making the HRCA and Highlands Ranch “Greener."