CITY OF FORT COLLINS UTLITY ADMINISTRATION BUILDING | FORT COLLINS, CO

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The City of Fort Collins Utility Administration Building completed construction in early Fall 2016 on their new 37,000 square-foot facility. The new building helps facilitate a collaborative environment by bringing together a variety of departments that had been previously housed among six other locations. The building was the first in the state of Colorado to be certified LEED Platinum v4 for New Construction and the third in the United States. Additionally, the Utility Administration Building is home to the first outdoor living wall in the state of Colorado. The Utility Administration Building is one to be sought after and a good model for energy efficient systems and strategies.
IBE ROLE
IBE has provided guidance through sustainability research and consulting, facilitation of the integrative design process, and LEED certification management. Following construction, IBE assisted with outreach efforts to promote the project in the community, including press releases and post-occupancy surveys.
HIGHLIGHTS
First LEEDv4 New Construction Platinum project in Colorado
– Designed to be net zero, earning all Energy and Atmosphere LEED credit points
– Photovoltaic systems produce 50% of building’s energy consumption
– 97% construction waste diversion
– Installed building materials that have lower impact on environment and occupant health
– Quality views for 97% of regularly occupied spaces

Location: 222 Laporte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO
Certification: LEED BD+C v4 Platinum
Project Type: Municipal Building
Owner: City of Fort Collins
Architect: RNL Design
Contractor: Adolfson and Peterson
Client: City of Fort Collins

Read more from the CofFC_UAB_CaseStudy_2017

City of Fort Collins Utilities Administration Building LEED v4 Celebration

Thursday, June 8, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Utilities Administration Building in Fort Collins

Cost: FREE

Join IBE, USGBC Colorado’s Northern Branch, and the City of Fort Collins as we celebrate the completion of Fort Collin’s Utilities Administration Building, one of Colorado’s first completed LEED v4 New Construction project. During this open house celebration, tours will be held back to back, the LEED project team and USGBC will deliver the plaque ceremony, and free barbecue lunch will be provided to those who tour the ASSA ABLOY Sustainability Showcase Truck.

The new administration building is one of the most energy efficient buildings in the state, is targeting LEED Platinum level, and more than 95% of the construction waste was diverted from landfills. Let’s celebrate this amazing building together. All are welcomed to attend.

This event is sponsored by ASSA ABLOY. Learn about ASSA ABLOY’s role in security and sustainability by touring their sustainability truck during the event! Register.

Agenda:

11am to 11:30am: tour 1
11:15am to 11:45am: tour 2
11:45am to 12:15pm: tour 3
12:30pm to 1:00pm: UAB Plaque Ceremony
1:30pm to 2pm: tour 4
1:45 to 2:15pm: tour 5

Creating a Community Health Hub at Salud Family Health Centers

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Katie Vega

Sustainability Associate, Public Health


The Colorado Health Foundation has awarded a one-year, $192,495 planning grant to design a proposed model for a community health hub in northwest Fort Collins, located at Salud Family Health Center’s newest clinic. IBE will lead the initiative to plan the proposed community hub guided by the following principle: ‘Make health less about medicine and more about community.’

Members of the community currently face fundamental barriers to health and wellbeing

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Image courtesy of The Family Ride

including food insecurity, lack of insurance, and poor or lacking built environment infrastructure (e.g., contiguous sidewalks). The design of the envisioned Salud Community Health Hub, to be located at 1830 Laporte Avenue, would offer a preventative approach to address such “upstream” health factors. The main idea is that the Health Hub will provide a centralized, inclusive space where Salud patients, providers, staff, and local community members can easily connect to a network of local organizations and service providers to achieve improved health outcomes.

IBE will help establish the Salud Community Health Collaborative, which will be the guiding advisory team during the planning phase of the project. Collaborative members include Salud Family Health Centers, Food Bank for Larimer County, Vida Sana, Sproutin’ Up, Bike Fort Collins, One Health Institute at CSU, and the Built Environment Working Group at CSU. Additional partnerships will be explored as the project progresses. The Collaborative is comprised of community partners that represent all three spectrums of health: disease prevention, disease treatment, and health generation. Collaborative members will contribute their specialized knowledge and experience to the project, exploring ways to provide integrated care—connecting preventative health and primary care. For example, a treatment protocol may entail a Salud health provider writing a prescription for fresh fruits and vegetables to be filled at the Health Hub community garden and/or food pantry.

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Sproutin’ Up. Image courtesy of Odell Brewing.

To ensure the design of easy access by community members and create well-connected service facilities, the project team will examine both the surrounding built environment infrastructure and the health hub site designs. Active design, universal design, healthy community design, and other evidence-based design frameworks will ultimately influence a site plan that best supports this specific community’s health and wellbeing. While the Colorado Health Foundation grant will make the design possible, additional funding will be required to build the vision.

From the onset, the project team will engage service providers and local community members—foundational to the Health Hub’s development—to better understand their needs, barriers, and opportunities for health and wellbeing. Community members will contribute to the overall project vision through focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Further, IBE will facilitate hands-on design workshops to support community members in creating a unique vision for the Health Hub.

For additional information, contact Katherine Vega, at katherine.vega(at)colostate.edu.

A New Neighborhood Approach: Meeting Fort Collins’ Affordable Housing Gap


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Bruce Hendee, RLA

IBE Advisory Board Member


Affordable housing became an issue in Fort Collins shortly after the end of the Great Recession. At that time, a perfect storm of conditions led to a dramatic decrease in the availability of affordable housing that has continued to this day.

In 2014, Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity’s Board of Directors and Executive Director, Kristin Candella, recognized the need to address this shortage of affordable housing stock. In response, the Board set an aggressive goal to build 50 new affordable homes by the year 2020, more than doubling the homes built by Habitat over the last twenty years—an especially challenging task given that all are built with volunteers. The goal required a new neighborhood approach that would yield more homes in less space to keep individual costs down.

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Harmony Cottages perspective.

The Perfect Storm for an Affordable Housing Crisis

As the lingering effects of the Great Recession began to wear off, there were few new housing units on the market. New housing starts had slowed due to the shortage of credit available from lenders in response to tightening legislation from the Federal Reserve. Developers were reluctant to invest in new projects because of the weakened economy and the Construction Defects Law, a new state law that made it easier for builders to be sued in building new condominiums. Construction of new condos came to a halt, putting further pricing pressure on entry-level housing.

At the same time that housing starts were at a dramatic low, Fort Collins was recognized as one of the best places to live and raise a family in America. The city and the Front Range became one of the favored locations to move. Simultaneously, Colorado State University was anticipating significant growth in student enrollment and had over $1 billion in new construction planned over a 10-year period, while Fort Collins-based corporations (such as Woodward and Otterbox) were building major new manufacturing and corporate facilities.

The resulting storm of immigration, lack of housing under construction, and a newly emerging, booming marketplace for jobs created a vacuum in available housing. The shortage caused housing prices to rise and affordability to become an issue.

Cottages and New Urbanism: Maximizing Space & Minimizing Cost

To realize the vision for 50 new affordable homes, Habitat for Humanity decided on a site located at Harmony and Taft Hill Road. But the original land plan contained only 30 lots whereas close to 50 were required to meet the goal. Additionally, the cost of lots would be too high spread over only 30 lots. With a targeted objective of attracting residents making an income in the 35-60% range of area median income, Habitat had to keep site and home costs down in spite of a rapidly escalating residential market.

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Harmony Cottages site plan. Image courtesy of Ripley Design, Inc.

To meet this challenge, Habitat teamed up with a local social impact developer and retained a design team that included two IBE Advisory Board members, Bruce Hendee, ASLA, and Greg Fisher, AIA. The team also included local landscape architecture firm Ripley Design, which has significant neighborhood design experience.

The team was given the charge to develop a denser site plan that added more lots while creating a great community. Design began with an intensive charrette and used a blend of New Urbanism and Pocket Neighborhood concepts, which originated from early neighborhood designs begun by Ebeneezer Howard and Frederick Law Olmsted during the Garden City Movement of the 1920’s and 1930’s. This concept evolved around small garden commons surrounded by cottage-style homes. To increase density, Fisher developed a duplex home style with gabled roof lines that made the duplexes appear as though they were two single-family homes. The community court concept, paired with the unique duplex style, enabled the project to expand from 30 to 48 units, a nearly 60% increase in density. An added benefit was the preservation of 40% open space.

A Collaborative Model for Affordable Energy

A key project requirement was to create highly efficient, low-cost homes. For families earning a low to moderate income, paying for heat often falls to the wayside in the interest of other, more critical needs. Therefore, a design that would keep residents comfortable at a very low energy cost was key.

In consultation with the City of Fort Collins Utilities’ Integrated Design Assistance Program (IDAP), Fisher designed homes with an exceptional building envelope and highly efficient electrical systems. IDAP enabled the team to conduct energy modeling of envelopes to further improve performance. The design process is still underway but has already yielded benefits, including analyzing the impact of the insulation. Spurred by a meeting that IBE facilitated early in the design phase, all insulation was donated by Johns Manville, helping bring down costs.

All homes were designed to accommodate three-kilowatt solar panels without charging residents more for their homes or more in energy costs. Fisher ensured the homes were positioned to ensure maximized rooftop orientation of solar panels. The solar provider, Namaste Solar, has generously offered to donate $1,200 of the cost of every solar panel for the first phase. Kyocera, the solar panel manufacturer, is considering providing reduced-cost solar panels. And, the City of Fort Collins is considering matching financing up to $25,000 toward a solar installation for the first phase through an income-qualified solar program.

The total cost of solar per dwelling unit is approximately $12,000. With initial donations of approximately $5,000, the remaining balance is $7,000 per unit. Two approaches are being considered to cover this balance: a Habitat fundraiser and social impact investment. Through the latter, philanthropic investors would purchase the solar panels and be repaid through a 30% solar tax credit combined with capturing the net difference in energy costs through net metering. Once repaid, the money could contribute toward new social impact investments.

A Youth-Designed Playground

A unique detail of the neighborhood plan is a playground designed in large part by Kinard Middle School students. With the landscape architects and school staff, students researched playground design for children with various disabilities and met at a local neighborhood park to draft designs atop sidewalks and picnic tables. The fresh perspectives they generated greatly enhanced the community design.


The Harmony Cottages project site is now under construction with plans to build six to eight homes per year, based on availability of donations and volunteer labor. With home construction beginning in 2017, estimated buildout is 2023-2025.

To learn more, visit the Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity’s website.


About Bruce

Bruce Hendee is the former Chief Sustainability Officer and an Assistant City Manager with the City of Fort Collins. Bruce is also founder and former owner of BHA Design, a landscape architecture and planning firm located in Fort Collins.

He has organized and directed various efforts in the Fort Collins area, including development of a new division within the City called Sustainability Services. While at the City, he led an effort to create a new Climate Action Plan, a new Economic Health Strategic Plan, and development of a Social Sustainability Department. In 2012, the division was recognized with the Robert Havlick Award awarded by the International City/County Managers Association) as one of the most innovative new city management systems.

As the CEO of BHA Design in Fort Collins, he led the firm in numerous projects along the Front Range including master planning and design for University of Colorado Health, PVH, Harmony Campus, and Medical Center of the Rockies. Other notable projects included the master plan for the Downtown River District, Fossil Creek Park, Spring Canyon Park, and projects with the University of Colorado and Colorado State University.


Go “Off the Rails” with the Urban Lab

Andy.jpgAndy Madrick

Sustainability Associate, Landscape Architecture


On Friday, October 7, the Urban Lab will select the winner of its “Off the Rails” competition. This juried competition challenges innovators to envision the revitalization of a busy, neglected strip in downtown Fort Collins, Colorado—one that is currently limited by the conflict between an active railroad and the adjoining public streetscape. “Off the Rails” garnered submissions from around the globe. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the future of Fort Collins.

When: Friday, October 7, 6-9 PM during Fort Collins’ First Friday Art Walk

Where: Galvanize, 242 Linden Street, Fort Collins, CO

The Urban Lab is proud to announce that it has attracted a national panel of esteemed jurors, an international submission pool, and a high level of community engagement and sponsorship.

International Applicants

“Off the Rails” entrants include students and professionals, from Fort Collins to as far away as China, who contributed ideas as diverse as their backgrounds. This international perspective will lead to a more colorful vision of what the city could become in the near future.

National Jury

“Off the Rails” attracted a national panel of judges:

Mayor Wade Troxell—Mayor of Fort Collins since April 2015, Troxell’s top priorities are: 1) Fort Collins as an innovation community and 2) Civic leadership for youth and young adults.

Hansy Better Barraza—As both a practitioner and an Associate Professor of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, Hansy is an expert in design methods that embrace social responsibility.

Walter Hood—Hood teaches landscape architecture and environmental design at the University of California, Berkeley. His studio practice, Hood Design, focuses on architectural commissions, urban design, art installations, and research.

Ed Goodman—Goodman’s diverse background includes more than 30 years of interdisciplinary problem solving with experience in entertainment, engineering, community design, marketing, branding, technology, organizational ecology, dreamscaping, experience design, and more.

Local Sponsorship

The Urban Lab garnered an outstanding amount of sponsorship for “Off the Rails” from local businesses along the Mason Corridor, demonstrating the community’s investment in the long-term future of the built environment. With community support, the Urban Lab believes that this competition will set the stage for a more vibrant, more engaging public space along Mason Street.

UniverCity Urban Lab is hosting “Off the Rails” in partnership with the City of Fort Collins and the Downtown Development Authority.

The Urban Lab and a Living Wall

By: Colin Day
Sustainable Building Associate
In 2014, the City of Fort Collins launched and initiative called “Nature in the City” with the goal of ensuring every citizen has access to nature close to where they live and work. The focus of the project is to determine how the built environment contributes to how nature is perceived within the City. One of the deliverables of the project is a set of design guidelines that will support the successful implementation of various techniques that enhance access to nature in urban environments. While most of these approaches are well understood and tested, some have not been attempted in the arid West. One such approach is a living wall.
The Nature in the City initiative has contracted the Urban Lab to coordinate the design and installation of the first living wall in the Rocky Mountain region. The project will be a high profile case study on the feasibility and creation of green walls in arid climates. The wall will be designed to demonstrate what plants work best in a vertical setting and how habitat can be enhanced on site through use of green wall systems. Beyond these immediate project goals, the potential to better understand the variety of benefits that green walls are known to deliver will be the subject of ongoing research and observation.
Green walls are well documented for providing a w
ide variety of benefits: they improve both indoor and outdoor air quality, they provide buildings with insulation from heat and cold while protecting the building envelope from water and sunlight. They help to lower summer temperatures in cities by reducing the urban heat island effect. The vegetation green walls add to the urban environment provides habitat for urban species. Social psychologists have shown that by viewing and interacting with vegetation, stress and mental fatigue decrease as feelings of neighborhood security and overall health increases.
The confirmed site for the Nature in the City and Urban Lab’s living wall is at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Students from the Colorado State University Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture have worked with the City of Fort Collins and The Institute for the Built Environment to produce compositional and planting designs for panels that will established in the CSU greenhouses. The Urban Lab has connected the CSU USGBC student chapter with the project. This student group will install the panels on site, thereby furthering the project’s educational impact. The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery was selected as the ideal site to locate the project for a variety of reasons. Because of the existing public-private partnership between the City and the Museum, maintenance issues will be streamlined through the City Parks Dept., the project proximity to the Mason Corridor aligns with the Urban Lab’s mission to enhance smart development between the University and Downtown Fort Collins on this mixed-use corridor, and the well established reputation of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery as a venue for educational displays that are equally accessible to children and adults. The living wall will serve as an exhibit at the Museum, and will be sited adjacent to the new endowment garden, to be designed by local firm Earthborn Landscape Design. The location will have high visibility and public access, while the plant selection will include species that support pollinators, have a variety of seasonal interest and are tactile and aromatic.
If successful, the first living wall in the region will contribute to a better understanding of the feasibility of using these types of systems in our urban environments. The benefits that are connected with living walls are well worth exploring as a part of a suite of techniques that increase biodiversity, resource savings and overall well-being in cities. With any luck, you might see more vertical greenery in your city in the coming years.