Keya Lea

Cuerno Verde Rest Stop

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The desolate, long drive between Albuquerque, NM and Denver, CO gives a person an appreciation for anything interesting to look at. It was a pleasant surprise to find a brilliant passive solar rest stop outside of Colorado City, Colorado.

The southern facing rest stop was almost totally shaded by the arc of deciduous trees.

The Cuerno Verde Rest Stop had brilliant passive solar design.

On approach to the building, one walks through a circular courtyard skirted with a half circle of deciduous trees that provide shade and a cool walk to the restrooms. Because of the overhang (solar control) and the placement of the trees, the southern facing windows are shaded from the hot summer sun, while the tile floor inside the building provides the necessary thermal mass to complete the passive solar formula.

Side View Cuerno RS

A view of the building from the western side.

The view from the west shows the angled roof of the building that allows the winter sun’s warmth to be absorbed into the back of the building. The building’s longer axis is on the east – west axis.

Trees on the southern side of the building

The deciduous trees were planted on the southern side of the building and provide shade in the summer months.

As I was taking the photos, I met a grounds-worker and I gushed about how nicely designed and efficient the building was to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. He just nodded and smiled, said, “Yup,” then went about his business.

In the winter, the trees will have dropped their leaves and the sun will be able to shine into the windows while the thermal mass absorbs the solar heat and slowly radiates it out in the cooler evening.

The passive solar rest stop shows all the southern facing windows in the shade

All the southern facing windows are shaded in the summer, while in the winter, they will receive full sun.

The Cuerno Rest Stop is located outside of Colorado City, CO on Interstate 25, somewhat close to the New Mexico border.  Make sure to stop and take a look if you’re heading in that direction.

 

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