[ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture Book Release Party!

BOOK-COVER[ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture by Andrew Michler | Book Release Party

September 25th 6-9pm

Fort Collins Museum of Art- 201 S College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Free Event >>RSVP HERE<<

Come celebrate the official release of [ours] Hyperlocalization of
Architecture | Contemporary Sustainable Archetypes, a book about the most innovative buildings in the world. Written by Andrew Michler, an off-grid inhabitant of Larimer county for the last 20 years and designer of the first Passive House in Colorado, [ours] journeys to seven regions around the world for a firsthand account of powerful movements in contemporary sustainable architecture. The book is a coffee table quality publication with dozens of interviews and hundreds of beautiful photos.

Author Andrew Michler

Author Andrew Michler

A short film with Andrew discussing the book with Andy Revkin at the New York Times building will also premiere. Andrew will be reading from select chapters and 3 simultaneous slideshows, each depicting a region will be on display in the museum. He will also sign all copies sold at the launch which will be available through FCMoA’s store.

The IBE provided a team of researchers for project selections and assistance in development of the book thesis.

Libations will be provided courtesy Odell Brewery.

This is a free event. >>RSVP HERE<<

Book Synopsis:

Continue reading


DC Microgrids

6610b-austinBy Austin Good | Sustainable Building Associate

The Institute for the Built Environment (IBE), in partnership with the Center for Energy and Behavior, the Energy Institute, Positive Energies (PosEn), the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster (CCEC), and Schneider Electric have come together to research the use and benefits of DC microgrids. The proposed collaboration includes construction of a new DC microgrid laboratory facility at CSU’s PowerHouse Energy campus and the initiation of new research directions in social science, built environments and DC microgrids.

What is AC & DC Power?

There are two types of electricity, Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC). These two types of electricity describe the types of electric current that flow through circuits. Each type of current has benefits and limitations. AC power, the power that flows through our current power grid, was chosen as the main form of electricity over 100 years ago. AC became the current of choice because of the ability to transmit power long distances without losing much energy to heat.  AC power is also able to be transmitted at high voltages then put through a transformer to reduce the voltage for the end use of the customer. DC voltage on the other hand cannot be scaled and was much more costly to transmit over distances.

Why DC power?

So why are we talking about DC power? AC power is becoming extremely inefficient for today’s uses. Our world has moved toward increasingly higher uses of semiconductors. Semiconductors are essential components in the electric circuits many devices, including computers, smartphones, televisions, and electric vehicles.  And semiconductors require the use of DC power. Because the power coming into our homes and offices is in the form of AC, conversion is required. During this conversion excessive power is lost to heat making conversion inefficient.

This problem is becoming more pragmatic today as people begin to generate their own power close to home through solar or other renewable means. These renewable sources output electricity in the form of DC power. However, because of the way our infrastructure is built, the power generated by renewables must be converted to AC power, transmitted through the current power grid, and then converted back to DC power within the device that is using the electricity, making the power subject to two inefficient conversions before reaching its end use.


Via recool.com

Enter DC microgrids. The idea behind DC microgrids is that we can begin embracing power that is generated nearby instead of the power generated at far away central power plants. These DC microgrids could optimize our systems to accept DC power directly, from generation to use, without going through two conversions. Other DC microgrid projects have demonstrated energy savings in the double digits, ranging from 10%-42% (Nextek Power 2010). One such system, called a MEG (Modular Electric Generator), is a truly next-generation DC power generation and distribution system. By coupling sources and loads using DC, the MEG improves efficiency and reduces the cost and complexity of power conversion systems. It utilizes PV power generation and battery storage to reduce grid coupling to an absolute minimum.

What is IBE studying?

Studies on green building technologies have identified three primary barriers to the adoption of innovative strategies: individual, organizational, and institutional (Hoffman and Henn 2008).  Additionally, many promising energy technologies, including DC microgrids, are not scalable. Initial user reactions and/or slow adoption prevent technical solutions from achieving their design goals. For example, often times building owners and clients are not aware of up-to-date research or the potential benefits of deploying these systems at scale. When it comes to DC microgrids, user expectations, building codes, and utility interconnections have been identified as the primary barriers to widespread adoption.

This study aims to understand barriers to the adoption of DC power systems in commercial buildings by creating an interdisciplinary team of academics, practitioners, industry professionals, and non-profit leaders to examine the technical issues and social barriers. The research that IBE conducts will be done in concert with the development of new laboratory facilities at the CSU Powerhouse Campus, which will test a MEG DC microgrid system. The resulting white paper will provide valuable information on the development, deployment, and acceptance of large scale DC microgrid technologies.


Fortenbery, B., EPRI, E. C., & Tschudi, W. (2008). DC power for improved data center efficiency.

Hoffman, A. J. and R. Henn (2008). “Overcoming the social and psychological barriers to green building.” Organization & Environment 21(4): 390.

Nextek Power. “AC vs DC Power?” YouTube. YouTube, 15 Sept. 2010. Web. 30 Aug. 2015.

Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising

Sustainable Building Associate

The renovation and addition to Avenir Museum on Colorado StateUniversity’s main campus has earned LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The museum houses a large permanent teaching and research collection of over 20,000 textiles, clothing, and household furnishings. The 18,676 square foot project consists of museum conservation spaces, collection storage, faculty and staff offices, a classroom, a conference reading room and two galleries.

CHHS_Avenir_212The project team for Avenir Museum incorporated many innovative and sustainable strategies into the design and construction of this building. Balancing needs for museum conservation with the sustainability goals set forth by the University was a key goal. High performance glazing, gasketed doors, and building envelope improvements contribute to the superior energy performance while meeting the temperature and humidity needs of the museum. Low VOC adhesives, paints, and carpets further enhance the air quality of the indoor environment and align with museum conservation practices. Daylighting in the classroom and conference room not only reduces energy consumption, but is also improves the quality of the indoor environment. Efficient indoor water fixtures reduce the daily water consumption by 30% compared to a typical building.

CHHS_Avenir_007The location and access to public transit allow occupants to use altern
ative forms of transportation including bicycles, busses, and carpools. Avenir Museum also dedicated parking space for low-emitting vehicles (LEV), earning an additional LEED point.

Attention was paid to the materials used on the project; over 13% of these materials contained recycled content, and over 27% of these materials were regionally sourced, including the bricks for the facade that mimics textile patterns and textures. In addition, over 86% of the project’s construction waste was diverted from the landfill. As a teaching museum, the building itself now teaches every day. A self-guided tour educates staff, students, guests and visitors about the challenges of building a green museum and highlights the building’s green design elements.

Avenir Scorecard

LEED Scorecard

Client/Funding Agent:
 Colorado State University
Location: CSU Center for the Arts
Certification: LEED for New Construction, Certified Silver

Helpful Links:

Green Museums: A LEED Primer for Preservation Professionals, The Getty Conservation Institute: https://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/newsletters/29_2/green_museums.html

Principles of Sustainable Design, National Building Museum: http://www.nbm.org/exhibitions-collections/exhibitions/the-green-house/principles.html

Sustainability Campaign, Museums Association: http://www.museumsassociation.org/campaigns/sustainability/sustainability-report

Sustainability and Museums: Your Chance to Make a Difference, Museums Association: http://www.museumsassociation.org/download?id=16398

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh: https://pittsburghkids.org/about/green-museum

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery: http://www.fcmod.org/about-the-museum/sustainability/

St Louis Art Museum Expansion: http://www.usgbc.org/projects/st-louis-art-museum-expansion

Sustainable Museums: Greening museums’ practices and programs: http://sustainablemuseums.blogspot.com/