Software to Help Make New Buildings Greener

By Molly Armbrister September 6, 2013  Northern Colorado Business Report

A team of Colorado State University researchers is developing a software tool that will allow architects to shrink the carbon footprint of a building while it’s being designed, reducing future greenhouse gas emissions and costs.

The research, called the Carbon Footprint Metric Project, was made possible by a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation awarded Aug. 1 and eventually will allow the team to create a software tool that will work in concert with software already used by architects to design buildings.


To read the full article, visit the Northern Colorado Business Report website http://www.ncbr.com/article/20130906/EDITION/130909959/0/SEARCH

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City of Fort Collins – Civic Campus Blocks 32 & 42

By: Allison Smith, Sustainable Building Associate

City of Fort Collins – Civic Campus Blocks 32 & 42
The City of Fort Collins desires to create a better civic center near Old Town Fort Collins on Blocks 32 & 42 (the blocks bordered by Maple, Mason, Laporte, and Meldrum streets). Fort Collins City Hall, the municipal court, City Manager’s office, and assorted city offices are housed in a hodge-podge of buildings on these blocks. 

Brian Dunbar and I facilitated a 3-day Design Charrette with participants from RNL, [au]Workshop architects+urbanists, Logan Simpson Design Inc., Integral Group, Architectural Energy Corporation (AEC), Ambient Energy, City of Fort Collins, Adolfson & Peterson Construction, and other project stakeholders. The morning of September 23, more than fifty people gathered in a meeting room on Block 42. For the next ninety minutes, the participants listened to brief presentations on the process, context, vision plan, sustainable concepts, and site analysis. After a break, most stakeholders participated in a small group activity to establish Guiding Principles for the project wherein LENSES was used to identify Flows that influenced the Guiding Principles. Groups of eight reviewed the problem, held a dialogue, and brainstormed their vision for Fort Collin’s Civic Center. Each small group presented their ideas and visions to the full group. 

This dynamic discussion centered on issues related to transportation, employees, citizens, and energy. Project stakeholders were drawn to principles surrounding the notion of World Class, Resilient Design, and having a Civic Heart. Through this process the stakeholder’s thoughts were incorporated into the Guiding Principles that framed the later design discussion. 

Key Issue Identification

The Institute for the Built Environment facilitates design charrettes by making sure all participants and all perspectives are heard. The Guiding Principles went through several iterations until the whole group came to consensus on the language and intent of the principles. Furthermore, IBE began the charrette by establishing rules for the charrette process which frequently includes “listen well to others”, and “no cell phones”, but can also include issues specific to the project. Throughout the process the facilitation team encourages the participants to think systematically. Having representatives from each area of the design team, the construction team, and the user group helps to keep systems thinking active throughout the discussion. By the end of the charrette’s third day, City employees and the architectural team had narrowed the civic center block plans from 9 proposed schemes down to 2 plans.  Without the charrette process, I believe it would have taken over a month to arrive at 2 plans that all of the stakeholders would be pleased with.

IBE will be facilitating charrettes in November and January – I am excited to continue honing my skills in this valuable tool in the Integrated Design Process (IDP). Charrettes can be an important tool to engage all stakeholders and expedite the design process. More can be learned about charrettes by looking at various projects on our IBE website and by visiting the National Charrette Institute’s website.

Green construction focus of new publication

 A new publication on green construction features contributions from authors with ties to Colorado State University’s Institute for the Built Environment in the College of Health and Human Sciences.
Buildings are the nation’s greatest energy consumers. Forty percent of all our energy is used for heating, cooling, lighting, and powering machines and devices in buildings. Constructing Green: Social Structures of Sustainability looks beyond the technological and material aspects of green construction to examine the cultural, social, and organizational shifts that sustainable building requires, examining the fundamental challenge to centuries-long traditions in design and construction that green building represents.
The contributors consider the changes associated with green building through a sociological and organizational lens. The essays offer uniquely multidisciplinary insights into the transformative potential of green building and the obstacles that must be overcome to make it the norm.
Five of the 40 contributing authors have ties to Colorado State University and the Institute for the Built Environment.  Jeni Cross, Brian Dunbar, and Lenora Bohren are IBE directors, Bill Franzen, is an IBE Advisory Board member and green school advisor.  Clayton Bartczak is a CSU Department of Construction Management alumnus and former IBE intern.
More information on Constructing Green: Social Structures of Sustainability, published by The MIT Press, is available at the following website https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/constructing-green.