Urban Villages Creates the First Carbon-Positive Hotel

Urban Villages Creates the First Carbon-Positive Hotel


The Populus is the first planned carbon-positive hotel in the United States, located in Denver, Colorado. The Populus is to be an energetic new social center, while staying committed to the environment.


Something that is carbon-positive is not only carbon-neutral, but it helps the environment. Another definition for carbon positive , “ where buildings, developments, and entire cities are constructed to use sustainable resources, generate surplus renewable energy, and convert atmospheric carbon into durable materials and products,” according to CarbonPositive Taking this definition into reality, Studio Gang has created the Populus by planting trees. 


The design of the Populus was inspired by aspen trees during their growth process. While aspen trees grow, they shed their lower branches leaving eyelid-looking dark spots, which are represented by the windows in the Populus. There are three equal sides of the Populus that have the windows making the building look like an aspen tree. The terrace is a socializing area and includes a view of the Civic Center Park. According to Studio Gang, “A green roof terrace planted with regional vegetation offers extensive views at the building’s top, providing a lush place to socialize and attractive habitat for local wildlife and insects.”


Each of the 297 rooms include a large window or multiple smaller windows. Urban Villages states, “Upon entering their rooms, hotel guests are greeted with immersive views of the nearby State Capitol and Civic Center Park and the mountains beyond through the generous apertures. “


Before the construction of the Populus, Studio Gang created the Aqua Tower which was criticized for being a thermal and environmental nightmare. The Populus was to be a better version of the Aqua Tower by creating heat recovery, self-shading glass, reinforced concrete, and photovoltaics that turns light into electricity. These are among many of the features of the Populus that contribute to making it carbon-positive.


While Studio Gang says the Populus may be carbon-positive, the materials are not fully sustainable. Studio Gangs’ Populus is taking steps to make the building fully carbon-positive. While the Populus may be the first carbon-positive hotel, it is certainly not the last.