Coors Field Sustainable Garden

By: Colin Day

The Institute for the Built Environment has finished its first growing season in the urban garden business. In collaboration with ARAMARK Food Services operating at Coors Field, our executive management and graduate student interns implemented the installation of the Coors Field Sustainable Garden, located at Gate A of the stadium in Denver, before the commencement of the 2013 baseball season. ARAMARK food services, an industry leader in public venue scale food service and facility maintenance, contracted IBE to assist in the creation of a pilot garden space, a first within major league sports venues. The goal was to realize the vision of on-site, sustainably produced food. The design mimics a baseball stadium with raised beds terracing upwards from the garden’s ‘infield’ to the ‘outfield’, to the ‘stands’. Ornamental flowers, followed by herbs and beneficial garden plants, followed by vegetables were on display for the ½ million fans that pass through Gate A over the course of the Rockies’ season.

The vision of ARAMARK to display and provide healthy, sustainably produced herbs and vegetables on-site as a part of their food operations is an example of a large company-wide commitment to sustainability. ARAMARK promotes sustainable practices in food purchasing, environmentally responsible consumer choices, greenhouse gas conscious building operations, energy and water conservation measures, green cleaning, greening their delivery fleet and ethically managing their waste products.

IBE facilitated design development, chose sustainable materials that would best suit the project ethos, contracted local, organic plant propagation, managed PR communication from conception to implementation and participated in the installation of the garden. During the 2013 growing season, the Coors Field Sustainable Garden provided 600 sq/ft of on-site, sustainably produced and managed vegetables, herbs, flowering ornaments, and plants that promote beneficial garden ecosystem functions to on-site chefs through the 2013 growing season. The harvest included heirloom varieties of tomatoes and peppers and a wide variety of herbs that were harvested by the IBE team and on-site kitchen staff during late August and early September of 2013.

IBE has successfully contracted to expand the scope of our involvement with ARAMARK in the 2014 growing season. This will include outreach to educational and city programs in the Denver area with an emphasis on community involvement and healthy, sustainable food choices for at-risk and under served youth communities. In order to realize these goals, our project team will pursue partnerships with programs such as and Denver Urban Gardens (DUG), as well as potential coalitions with governing bodies such as the Denver Public School System. Additionally, our crops selections will be expanded to lengthen the growing season and increase the variety of selection and nutrition within the beds.

Ultimately, IBE hopes to develop the ‘The GaRden’ as a component of ARAMARK’s Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) goals.  With outreach to other interested ARAMARK facilities with assistance from Denver ARAMARK management, the goal is an export of sets of guidelines and toolkits that assist in the establishment of sustainable gardens at other ARAMARK venues. Through the connection between relevant programs in higher education to nearby ARAMARK facilities, the potential ensuing collaboration would include regionally relevant outreach agendas.

Our experience at Coors Field in collaboration with ARAMARK corresponds with our ethos of sustainable design in the built environment, regionally relevant projects, and educational outreach that intends to spread understanding about sustainable activities and their impacts on health. IBE looks forward to breaking ground at Coors Field again during the 2014 growing season with our project partners at ARAMARK.


The Mason UniverCity District Urban Lab

By: Colin Day, Sustainable Building Associate

The Institute for the Built Environment is very proud to announce that grant funding has been secured from CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability and UniverCity for the establishment of an Urban Laboratory on the CSU campus in Fort Collins. Temporary space has been secured at The Institute for the Built Environment on campus near the corner of Mason and Laurel streets, with the aim to eventually secure permanent space on or near the Mason Street corridor. The UniverCity Urban Lab steering committee is in the process of defining the UniverCity Urban Lab, with the aim of the establishment of a 501c3 non-profit organization to embody the values of community members and stakeholders that it draws upon for the generation of ideas and input.

Mason Street Corridor, Fort Collins

But what exactly is an Urban Lab?  An Urban Lab is an adaptive forum that includes a variety of stakeholder input, which can include community members, professionals, academics, policy-makers, designers, artists and developers.  Interested parties collaborate to brainstorm solutions and interventions for issues and opportunities that the urban community shares.  The platform ideally acts as a think-tank to propose ideas and visions and to propose, test, design and implement collaborative urban planning projects that answer to a variety of community desires and needs. It is, quite simply, a laboratory to test ideas that will be applied at an urban level.

The mission statement of the lab at this juncture is simple: “The Mason UniverCity District is a dynamic area ripe for redevelopment. The district and its multi-modal transportation focus models a robust and eco-friendly mix that supports residents, business, retail and entertainment. It is vibrant and draws people from throughout the community and University to come live, work and play. It is a connector inviting exploration of the eclectic District as well as adjoining neighborhoods and nearby destinations. It is another of Fort Collins’ jewels”.

The aim of The Lab is to guide the Mason Street Corridor toward vibrant and regenerative infill projects. This initiative dovetails with the proposed 2014 opening of the MAX bus mass rapid transit system. The studies and projects will focus on urban design at various scales, urban morphology, neighborhood planning and design, and health and the built environment, all with a particular focus on walkability, bike-ability and an ethos of urban biodiversity and ecology.

MAX Transit Station Rendering, Mason Street Corridor
City of Fort Collins

Of course, other relevant urban design and development topics are likely to arise with the eclectic mixture of the stakeholders, community members, professionals and educators that The Lab is bringing together and drawing from. With the continued support and evolution of The Lab, the development of catalytic projects along the Mason Street corridor will grow a more robust physical, virtual and philosophical connection between the CSU campus, Old Town Fort Collins, and the communities therein. The implementation of our goals will enhance pending development and transportation projects and, with luck, creativity and application, will positively affect the fabric of the Fort Collins community.

To see the work of a small selection of other Urban Labs, please follow the following links:

The Carnegie Mellon Remaking Cities Institute
The Dallas Urban Lab
The California College of the Arts Urban Lab

Army National Guard Windsor Readiness Center Earns LEED Platinum Certification

The Army National Guard just completed construction of their new Windsor Readiness Center that houses the 1157th FSC (Forward Support Company) of the Colorado Army National Guard. The building is LEED Platinum certified, a first in the nation for National Guard facilities. LEED consists of five main categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Along with these five categories, projects are also eligible for Innovation in Design and Regional Priority credits.

Army National Guard Windsor Readiness Center.
Photo Courtesy of RB+B Architects

The Colorado Army National Guard takes pride in its facilities blending into the communities in which the units are based. “The addition of the readiness centers and the infantry battalion increases the value of the National Guard to the community and enhances our ability to assist in a time of need,” said Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, the Adjutant General of Colorado. The Guard has a longstanding relationship with community in Windsor, the unit responded when a destructive EF3 tornado devastated the town on May 22, 2008.  A state of emergency was declared prompting the Guard to send helicopters with medics and provide security patrols to ensure that looting and theft didn’t ensue in local neighborhoods.

The new 17-acre site and facility will be the home of approximately 130 soldiers from the 1157th Forward Support Company of the 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment.  This new facility is 30,715 square feet and includes an assembly hall, a maintenance training work bay, a kitchen, a recruiting office, a family support office, supply storage, locker areas, classrooms and administrative offices.

Army National Guard Windsor Readiness Center,
Beetle-Kill Pinewood Hallway
Photo Courtesy of RB+B Architects

Proper building orientation allowed the project to have daylighting in 89% of the regularly occupied space, reducing energy use for lighting and for cooling. The facility is projecting a 70% energy cost savings from the combination of a high-performance building envelope, a ground-source heat exchange HVAC-system and photovoltaic (PV) arrays.  91% of the construction waste was diverted from the landfill through recycling and reuse programs.  Both Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood and beetle-killed pinewood can be found throughout the interior of the facility. Through the use of low-flow plumbing fixtures, a 43% interior water use reduction was calculated.  Furthermore, the project utilizes no sprinkler irrigation on native grass which provides a 58% reduction use in potable water.

Graduate student interns with the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University were directly involved in the LEED coordination and documentation process. Students gained valuable project experience by participating in and guiding the LEED certification process. In addition, the building continues to teach every day. Informative panels are hung on the walls to educate staff, students, guests and visitors about the green design elements of the building.

For more information about the project, check out this page on the RB+B Architects website.

Larimer County’s Newest Correctional Facility Earns LEED Gold Certification

Larimer County – The Alternative Sentencing Department just completed construction of their new headquarters, located in east Fort Collins on Prospect Road.  The building has earned a LEED for New Construction Gold Certification, which is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design and construction of high performance green buildings.  LEED consists of five main categories (Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality). Along with these five categories, projects are also eligible for Innovation in Design and Regional Priority credits.

The Alternative Sentencing Department is a unique program of the Larimer County Criminal Justice Services Division which allows offenders to serve court ordered jail sentences yet remain productive members of the community.  Offenders are housed in the 53,500 square foot, two-story facility under one of two different classifications, Work Release and Work Enders.  The Work Release program houses offenders for an average of two months, during which time they are able to retain a job and leave the facility for the purpose of employment. The Work Ender program offers offenders a way to serve their sentence through a series of overnight stays, during which time they are assigned to a work crew to perform useful labor in the community.

The new facility provides a benchmark for Larimer County as they seek to shift their operations to more sustainable practices. “First and foremost, we wanted a well-planned building that would contribute to the long-term sustainability of our program. We also wanted to create a sense of ownership in our staff for the building through their involvement in the design process. My past experience showed that going through the LEED process would help do that and would contribute to the long-term operational savings of the building. Finally, we wanted to create a project that was educational for our offenders, our staff, and our community. Since this is my staff’s first LEED certified building, I knew we could benefit by transferring knowledge to our other buildings.” Michael Kirk, Director of Facilities Services Larimer County, Colorado.

The facility is projecting 43% energy cost savings and a 47% reduction in interior water consumption.  Eighty three percent of the construction waste was diverted from landfills through recycling and reuse programs.  22% of materials used in the design and construction were sourced from within 500 miles and 28% of the materials were made from recycled content.  In addition to the reductions in resource consumption, the building is very cost effective for the County compared to a typical high security facility.

Graduate student interns with the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University were directly involved in the LEED coordination and documentation process.  Students in Construction Management, Landscape Architecture and Interior Design graduate programs gained valuable  project experience by participating in and guiding the LEED certification process.  In addition, the building continues to teach every day. Informative panels are hung on the walls are designed to educate staff, students, guests and visitors about the green design elements of the building.

For more information about the new Alternative Sentencing Department facility, see the IBE website, and also view the Executive Summary; and for current local green building events and programs, see the Unites States Green Building Council website at:

Army National Guard Facility Restores a Community’s Confidence

By: Scott Preston, Sustainable Building Associate
M.S. Landscape Architecture

On May 22, 2008 the Town of Windsor, in rural northern Colorado, was struck by an EF3 tornado.  With winds in access of 135mph, the tornado tore a path 35 miles long leaving a trail of destruction that leveled 80 homes and damaged 700 others.  Hundreds of power and telephone lines were downed, freight trains were overturned and cars lie on their roofs in the wake of its path that left more than $193 million in damage.  As the region came together to support a small community in distress, so did the Colorado Army National Guard.  A state of emergency was declared prompting the Guard to send helicopters with medics and provide security patrols to ensure that looting and theft didn’t ensue throughout the neighborhoods.

On October 13, 2012 I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Army National Guard Windsor Readiness Center, a $9.8 million 31,000sf facility.  The show of support and appreciation from the community was apparent with over 200 in attendance.  This was my first ribbon-cutting ceremony so I wasn’t expecting such a turnout.  It was somewhat of an emotional day as Mayor John Vazquez thanked the Guard for their support in the aftermath of Windsor’s greatest disaster.  A soldier of the Colorado National Guard was promoted during the ceremony.  Furthermore, the Adjutant General of Colorado Major General H. Michael Edwards spoke, thanking the residents of Windsor for making the Guard feel so welcome in their new home.  The sense of pride among community members and the Guard alike was overwhelming. For the first time I had a real sense of the Guard’s role and their mission to protect and support Colorado citizens and property.

Over the past year I have had the opportunity to work with members of the Colorado Army National Guard, as well as RB+B Architects and Adolfson & Peterson, in the design and construction of the Windsor Readiness Center.  The facility lies on a 17-acre site which houses 130 soldiers of the 1157th Forward Support Company of the 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment.  The Windsor Readiness Center is pursuing LEED Platinum certification and is in line to be the first Platinum military building in Colorado.  The Windsor Readiness Center, a testament to green building, will use about 72% less energy and 35% less water than its baseline.

GSA Sole Source Contract with IBE

By: April Wackerman, Project Manager

GSA Award: Developing a Knowledge Network for the Federal Government and the Private Sector within the Office of Federal High Performance Green Buildings, Office of Governmentwide Policy, US General Services Administration.

The General Services Administration (GSA) has selected IBE as research experts for a collaborative effort to further develop their Knowledge Network. IBE will identify and summarize published, peer-reviewed, field-tested original research related to high performance building technologies and practices for operations, building, energy, portfolio, and asset management in both the Federal and private sectors. The data identified in the reports and articles will be used as raw content to put into practice through the Knowledge Network. GSA has designed several steps in the development of this tool and IBE will support a portion of the overall effort.

The General Services Administration’s objective of this effort is to facilitate adoption of proven High Performance Green Building technologies & strategies in the field. The goal is to inform and educate the identified audiences with high performance technologies and best practices that is specific to each of their missions while driving an overall cohesive effort to achieve optimal building, portfolio and asset efficiency. Target audiences include facility, energy & project managers, as well as procurement and budget personnel. The Knowledge Network applies a “energy research into practice” communication strategy to establish a multi-channel education and communication platform. This platform will be used on an ongoing basis to disseminate best practices, guidelines, standards, decision tools and educational content focused around sustainable and cost-effective operation of facilities to targeted audiences within GSA, the Federal sector and private industry.

Sustainable Demonstration Home Coming to CSU

By: Sam Hartley, Sustainable Living Associate
                                  M.S. Interior Design

IBE (Institute for the Built Environment) has been given the opportunity to represent SoGES (School of Global Environmental Sustainability) in the Blue Dot Demonstration/Research House, which will be built on the CSUcampus in 2013.

IBE was introduced to Jim Gregory, an innovative thinking developer, who believes the construction industry should “move the needle” closer to sustainable practices. His purview is that current construction practices typically create large homes with leaky construction techniques, requiring much energy to maintain a comfortable living environment. An Interdisciplinary group of students at CSU, led by Brian Dunbar and Samala Hartley, will design and build the demonstration home to represent affordable and sustainable building practices. The home will have a small footprint, a tight and efficient building envelope, efficient heating and cooling systems (including passive solar techniques), and will consider water reuse and renewable energy strategies. The goal of this project is to share applied successes with other builders around the country.
The blue dot demonstration house is an exciting opportunity for students from many disciplines to experience the real world design process. The integration of their various disciplines will ensure a well-designed project from the shrubs to the solar panels and everything in between. Students are involved from the departments of Landscape, Construction Management, Interior Design, and Civil Engineering.
Once built on campus, three lucky students will live in the home each semester, where they can learn to live sustainably and share their experiences with others. The home will have real time monitoring of energy use for all to see on scheduled tours of the site.
The home will also be designed to be a canvas for research at CSU, both now and in the future. Current research will include rain water capture and graywater reuse. Behavioral research regarding sustainable living may also be implemented.