Crestone Charter School

Crestone Charter School

  • Location

    Crestone, CO

  • Market Sector

    K-12 Education

  • size

    13,000 SF

Crestone Charter School, which was awarded $5.7M by the BEST (Build Excellent Schools Today), was in need of a new facility. Their old facilities consisted of four dilapidated rental buildings on leased land with outdated HVAC, plumbing; inoperable windows, and air quality concerns were compromising the educational environment.

The new school design is environmentally responsible to the needs of the community. It will have sufficient classroom and gathering space for 75 students, a multi-use gym/ theatre/social space, a proper science lab, adequate administration space and reception area, a conference room, and counseling rooms.

BG provided MEP engineering design and LEED commissioning services for the new middle school. We spent considerable time analyzing the differences between CO-CHPS and LEED for the owner to make the right certification path decision, ultimately deciding that CO-CHPS was a better fit with the owner’s program and the rural location.

BG also took several low-energy systems concepts deep into design to vet the “right” solution. BG considered biomass boiler, ground source heat pumps, and solar thermal systems.

An extensive solar thermal heating array coupled with a small electric boiler (anticipated to run only a small fraction of the year) was selected. This solar array and the associated heat sink located under the school is expected to fund nearly the entire heating load.

The school is anticipated to be net-zero energy. It is our understanding this is the first system of its kind applied to a CO Department of Education school.


  • Electrical
  • LEED
  • Lighting
  • Mechanical
  • Plumbing
  • Technology
Staircase and lighting inside of the Crestone Charter School
Exterior view of the entrance to Crestone Charter School at dusk with the lights on
Solar panels outside with Crestone Charter School in the background
Entrance to the Crestone Charter School during the day with a clear sky in the background
View from the sidewalk of the Crestone Charter School with mountains and clouds in the background