Loveland City Council receives LEED Gold Certification for the Loveland Library project

Loveland Library

The Loveland City Council was presented with  LEED Gold Certification for the Loveland Library project on August 21 by the U.S. Green Building Council. The project was first started in August of 2010 and received its LEED Certification in July of 2012. The Institute for the Built Environment (IBE) Green Schools Specialist Stephanie Barr is featured in the video clip below.

To view the video clip of the presentation, please click here.


Treehugger writes an article about IBE’s "[Ours]: Hyper-Localization of Sustainable Architecture book partnership with eVolo Magazine

One of the tragedies of design in the last 50 years has the homogenization, the sameness, wherever you go around the world. Houses look the same, office buildings look the same; when in fact climate and social conditions differ radically. What let them be all the same was cheap energy: add more air conditioning here, more heat there. You couldn’t have an “International Style” without it.
Green builder and Inhabitat contributor Andrew Michler believes that to build sustainably, you have to go hyperlocal. He’s writing a book about it: [ours]: Hyperlocalization of Sustainable Architecture, and is down to the wire on a Kickstarter campaign (only four days left) to raise money for travel and research. He gives examples of the kind of hyperlocal responses to sustainability that the book will cover:

© Casey Young

[Australia Unfolds] to boldly explore how design practices inform a contemporary sense of place and provide solutions to complex issues in an environment of extremes. 

Andrew uses Casey Brown’s Permanent Camping as an example of how one responds in a hot climate: Big shutters that act as shading devices when pulled up, made of metal for a little wildfire protection.

© Evolo

[Japan Condenses] some of the most innovative interior design in the world with space constrained design vernaculars leading to extraordinary solutions for urban living. 

Here, the approach to sustainability is to go small, in a society where space is at a premium (and the lots are tiny to start with).
The difference between the two projects shown here goes beyond local climactic conditions; it is hyperlocal, affected by social conditions and expectations. Andrew writes:
Rather than put great cutting edge building projects in isolation we want to look both inward at how they work and came to be, and outward at how environmentally astute architecture is informed by and can redefine the society they are placed in.
Also on the team producing the book are Katharine Leigh and Tara Steckly of the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University, and it’s published by Evolo. I’m going to kick a few bucks into Kickstarter and hope you will too.

Red Hawk Elementary School celebrates LEED Gold

Red Hawk Elementary School in the St. Vrain Valley School District has earned LEED Gold certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.

The Institute for the Built Environment at CSU coordinated the LEED work on the project. Elliot Dale, a CSU graduate student in construction management and an IBE intern, worked on the project with April Wackerman, IBE projects manager.

Recognized for sustainability

Located at 1500 Telleen Avenue in Erie, the new 74,600 square foot elementary school is recognized for its extremely low energy and water use, outstanding natural daylighting techniques, healthy regional and recycled-content materials, and exceptional integration of sustainable principles into its existing academic curriculum.

The LEED Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED certified schools save money for taxpayers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a healthier environment for students, staff and the larger community. The strict guidelines for acoustical performance, indoor air quality and daylight result in a facility that will have an abundance of clean air and sunlight and will be free of toxic, unhealthy materials.

“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most-important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The work of innovative building projects such as Red Hawk Elementary is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement.”


Showcases green initiatives

This elementary school showcases St. Vrain Valley School District’s commitment to the education, health, and wellbeing of their children, and will be a model of high performance, stewardship, responsibility and respect.

The project team used an integrated design approach to creatively think how each system and design element would positively contribute to the performance of the building. With this approach, Red Hawk Elementary School achieved many sustainable building milestones including 40 percent less potable indoor water use than a typical school building, 73 percent construction waste diversion, 20 percent recycled content of materials, and 20 percent regional material procurement. Most notably, Red Hawk Elementary School achieved a 57 percent energy cost savings compared with typical elementary schools through progressive design features such as a ground source heating and cooling system, a super insulated building envelope, high efficient lighting fixtures, and abundant daylighting in all occupied spaces. Other sustainable features include low emitting and non-toxic materials, paints and finishes, the development of an educational curriculum incorporating the green features of the building for educational purposes, and the adoption of the Green Stars School waste minimization program. Furthermore, a 50kW solar array is planned to be installed on the school property which will offset 60 percent of the total annual electricity used at Red Hawk Elementary.

“Certified green schools such as Red Hawk quickly become models for the community and for other school districts. And, we’ve seen student performance rise, especially when the students and teachers make connections between their curricula and their unique place as Red Hawk has done,” according to Brian Dunbar, director of the Institute for the Built Environment in the College of Applied Human Sciences at CSU.

Project team

Along with CSU’s Institute for the Built Environment, the project team included RB+B Architects Inc., Shaffer Baucom Engineering, Adolfson and Peterson Construction, The Weidt Group, RJ McNutt & Associates, JVA Consulting Engineers, and The Birdsall Group.

Contact: Tracy Kile-Schwartz
Phone: (970) 491-7525

Kick-Starting Whole-School Sustainability Initiatives in Cheyenne

As part of the 2011 K-12 Building Retrofit and Renewable Energy Demonstration grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Institute for the Built Environment (IBE) was engaged by Laramie County School District #1 (LCSD) to reach beyond the grant’s renewable energy installations in order to influence the integration of whole-school sustainability across the district. Whole-school sustainability is the incorporation of sustainability into all aspects of a school organization, including operations and maintenance, new school design standards, occupant behavior, and educational opportunities. IBE sought to offer recommendations for meaningful changes, provide helpful guidance and resources, and achieve buy-in and ownership with LCSD staff to steward district sustainability into the future.

The final deliverables to LCSD included a Sustainable Operations & Maintenance Manual, Integrated High Performance Design Guidelines, and an Educational Guidebook of teacher and student resources for the integration of sustainability education into classrooms. Reception of these manuals marks a turning point for the school district as they begin to standardize sustainable practices district wide and commit to providing educational opportunities for staff, students, and the community. The development of these resources also reflects a desire from the district to have an integrative approach to building design and operations, one that aligns with their educational mission and evolves to include high performance technologies and strategies. 

Dave Bartlett, Assistant Superintendent of Support Operations for LCSD, shared, “LCSD #1 has been very appreciative of the assistance provided to the District by the Institute for the Built Environment. As a district, we have always had a focus on being stewards of local and state resources with an emphasis toward energy conservation and sustainability. The tools provided to the District will allow us to continue this focus through our routine and major maintenance practices as well as for future capital construction projects. The tools developed for the classroom will also help to educate our students on the topic of sustainability and to emphasize the importance of these practices for a healthy environment today and on into the future.”

Integrated High Performance Design Guidelines 

Triumph High School, Laramie County School District

Drawing upon the experience of the Institute’s experience in sustainable design and construction and the experience of Bill Franzen, consultant and former director of Poudre School District Operations, the team collaborated with LCSD staff to define established best practices and performance standards for design and construction of schools. Stephanie Barr, IBE Green School Specialist, stated; “The purpose of this document is to provide sustainable high performing guidelines for the design, construction and maintenance of energy efficient and environmentally responsible facilities that support the educational mission of the Laramie County School District #1.” The guidelines address a variety of subjects, including Integrated Design Process, Site Planning and Landscape Design, Water Conservation, Renewable and Alternative Energy, Energy Efficient Building Shell, Energy Efficient Systems, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Construction Waste Reduction, Materials and Performance, Safety and Security, Kitchen Operations, and Buildings that Teach. As a living document, these guidelines are intended to evolve as the school district evolves, ever reflecting the communities values for high performance and efficiency.

Sustainable Operations and Maintenance Manual 

To facilitate policy changes and influence decision making in regards to how the individual buildings within the school are operated and maintained, IBE developed a manual which outlines the current operations and maintenance practices used within the school district and identify opportunities for greater efficiency and improved practices. Using the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EB: O&M) rating system as a framework, IBE assessed two school buildings, Alta Vista Elementary and Triumph High School. This assessment identified current practices used within the school district and provided side by side gap comparisons for sustainable best management practices. By highlighting the gaps between current and sustainable operations and maintenance strategies, the district was provided quantifiable improvements and actionable steps for implementing changes toward a more sustainable operating paradigm.

Educational Guidebook 

A primary goal for the set of projects was to increase student, teacher and staff awareness of and engagement in sustainability and renewable energy. To outline goals for integrating sustainability into teaching, learning, and culture of schools within LCSD, a workshop was held to engage teachers in sustainability and utilize the building and renewable energy demonstrations as teaching tools. Responding to the teachers needs for resources, a set of free educational resources were compiled. These resources included lesson plans, informative websites, and provided student-focused information about school sustainability. In addition, a guidebook for student engagement in energy efficient operations was created. This document includes roles and responsibilities for program leaders, outlines key activities, and provides activity sheets.

Fully Integrated and Fully Rooted 

Helping organizations see their path and realize the benefits of sustainably built environments are what we do at IBE. Our mission, to foster stewardship and sustainability of the built and natural environments through interdisciplinary educational forums, is met when engaging with organizations and leading through a project that results in innovation and education. Each resource developed for LCSD is intended to be used to facilitate incremental improvements towards a more sustainable school district. The value of these resources lies not only in the finished product, but also in the process taken to develop them. Stakeholder engagement guided the development of tailored resources and laid a platform of support. As stated by April Wackerman, IBE Projects Manager, “This project is only the beginning. LCSD is primed to begin their unique path to a sustainable, high-performing district.”

Campus Crest Communities and SolarCity to Provide Student Residents with Renewable Energy and a Focus on Sustainability

Under One Roof, Solar Projects Unite Young, Ambitious Minds and Clean, Renewable Energy
CHARLOTTE, N.C. & DENVER–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Campus Crest Communities, Inc. (NYSE: CCG), a leading developer, builder, owner and manager of high-quality, purpose-built student housing under The Grove® brand, today announced a partnership with SolarCity, a national leader in clean energy products and services, to install more than 9,000 solar panels on its student housing communities located in Greeley, Colorado; Flagstaff, Arizona; and Las Cruces, New Mexico. When complete, the initiative will:

“It’s possible for many housing developers to pay less for solar electricity than they pay for utility power and pass on the benefits of clean power to their tenants—SolarCity has completed more than 100 solar projects for housing developments in the U.S.”

  • Provide more than 2.3 million kilowatt-hours of renewable power annually
  • Offset electricity consumption by approximately 50 percent
  • Eliminate over 80 million pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of taking approximately 7,000 cars off the road for a year.

Ted W. Rollins, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Campus Crest, and Andrew H. Young, Vice President and head of Campus Crest’s sustainability initiative said, “Sustainable living is central to our company philosophy and business practices, and we are pleased to find that our residents are equally as passionate about the concept. Shifting consumption towards clean energy will further our mission to be a leader in regenerative practices by using renewable sources to limit carbon emissions and reduce overall energy costs, which in turn allows us to provide our residents with cleaner, more energy efficient housing.

“This is a great start to our broader commitment to alternative energy and global regeneration, and clearly demonstrates that if you are thoughtful, you can balance economics with environmental and social agendas to create a thriving company. We continue to push our People & Planet initiatives across our platform, and across our industry-leading residence life programs.”

“Campus Crest is showing future generations there are better energy options available by giving students access to renewable power,” said Toby Corey, Chief Revenue Officer at SolarCity. “It’s possible for many housing developers to pay less for solar electricity than they pay for utility power and pass on the benefits of clean power to their tenants—SolarCity has completed more than 100 solar projects for housing developments in the U.S.”

Said Josie Plaut, Director of Projects for the Institute for the Built Environment and Executive Director of the Center for Living Environments and Regeneration (CLEAR): “Campus Crest is a great example of seeing today’s business leaders act responsibly and take a balanced approach to drive meaningful results in all areas of their business. We are excited to be involved with them and can see the progress they are making towards acting socially and environmentally responsible while continuing to create strong returns for their shareholders.”

These projects reflect Campus Crest’s commitment to sustainability and making a positive environmental, social, and economic impact on the communities in which it owns and operates student housing developments. To help drive this initiative, the company has partnered with The Institute for the Built Environment (IBE) at Colorado State University, a multidisciplinary institute whose mission is to foster stewardship and sustainability of natural and built environments, and the Center for Living Environments and Regeneration (CLEAR), a 501c(3) non-profit organization focused on global regeneration (

About Campus Crest Communities, Inc.
Campus Crest Communities, Inc. (NYSE: CCG) is a leading developer, builder, owner and manager of high-quality, purpose-built student housing properties located close to campuses in targeted U.S. markets. The Company is a self-managed, self-administered and vertically-integrated real estate investment trust which operates all of its properties under The Grove® brand. Campus Crest Communities owns interests in 33 operating student housing properties containing approximately 6,324 apartment units and 17,064 beds and boasts the youngest standardized portfolio in the industry. Since its inception, the Company has focused on customer service, privacy, on-site amenities and its proprietary residence life programs to provide college students across the USA with a higher quality of living. Additional information can be found on the Company’s website at

About SolarCity
SolarCity®—a national leader in clean energy products and services—provides homeowners, business and government organizations cleaner, more affordable alternatives to their utility bills. The company makes it simple for customers to lock in lower, long-term rates for clean energy by providing everything from permitting and installation to ongoing monitoring and maintenance. Additional information about the company is available on the Web at

DLR Group Green School Research Study Awarded

IBE has partnered with DLR Group to research the cost effectiveness, performance, and human impact of green schools designs. DLR Group is a design firm that provides architectural, engineering, planning, and interior design expertise to clients in the United States and abroad. Their focus is in corporate (mixed-use, hospitality, and workplace), higher education, K-12 education, justice (courts, civic spaces, and detention), and sports design. IBE staff will analyze a variety of schools in different climates to gain a better understanding of how the schools are performing and the impact they have on the occupants. The analysis of these 14 schools will seek to answer the question: Are DLR Group green schools cost-effective, high-performing, and positively impacting students?

Studying the costs and benefits of green schools is exciting as it will help better justify the use of green building practices in future school construction. Qualitative and quantitative data will be collected in order to determine if correlations exist between the attributes of green school and absenteeism, performance, and costs. Identifying these correlations is crucial to the advancement of green school buildings. Decision makers and community members in school districts across the county need studies like this to inform their decisions concerning future school construction. It is the hope of DLR Group and IBE that this research will offer insight and direction in order to further the advancement of efficient and healthy learning environments. (Photo: Marysville (Wash.) Getchell Campus credit of DLR Group)


Vail Fire Station #3 Achieves LEED Gold Certification

POC: April Wackerman

Resources: Report and Press Release – March 2012
Uploaded: May, 3, 2012

The Town of Vail and Vail Fire and Emergency Services are extremely proud to have achieved a LEED Gold certification for the new West Vail Fire Station # 3. Vail has embraced environmental sustainability and the construction of the new fire station was one of the first projects in which we collaborated with the Institute for the Built Environment. Our project was not only a success, but we enjoyed the learning process along the way. Our Architect, Belford-Watkins Architect Group, was very knowledgeable and invaluable in the LEED process. As one of only five fire stations in Colorado to achieve LEED certification, we are thrilled to be leading by example and reaping the benefits of exceptional energy savings.” –Mark Miller, Fire Chief.
The Town of Vail, CO. has just opened its newly LEED Gold Certified Fire Station and as stated above it is one of only five in the entire state of Colorado to achieve this level of efficiency in building, design, and construction.  Much of the credit is due to the diligence of the designers and contractors who were able to recycle 91% of the construction waste to keep it from going to the landfill.  16% of the materials used in construction were regionally sourced with an additional 10% of the materials containing recycled content.  By setting design and construction goals early in the project planning process, the team was able to reach some amazing efficiencies.

·         Highly efficient indoor water fixtures have reduced the daily water consumption by 41% compared to a typical building.  

·         High performance glazing, daylighting, lighting controls, increased R-values in the roof and walls, and other features contribute to the superior energy performance of the building, allowing it to perform over 21% better than a similar building built to code.

·         Daylighting throughout 99% of the building reduces energy consumption and improves the quality of the indoor environment. 

·         Low VOC adhesives, paints, and carpets increased the air quality of the indoor environment.
·         The Town of Vail has also decided to purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to offset 70% of the estimated electricity needs of the building for 2 years.
The building is a 15,000 square foot facility which includes housing to accommodate up to 12 firefighters and modern training facilities.   These modern professional training facilities are state-of-the-art apparatuses designed to increase the effectiveness of fighting fires in the high rise multiple occupancy structures.   
The location of the building is conveniently located close to alternative transportation corridors and access points giving it a high profile and adding to its appeal for the town.  It serves as an educational center piece by displaying panels that detail the green design elements of the building.  Visitors, students, and staff gain valuable insight and understanding by experiencing the building and reading about the techniques that went into the design and construction of the building.  In addition, Graduate student interns with the Institute for the Built Environment were directly involved in the LEED coordination and documentation process. Graduate students from the Departments of Construction Management and Interior Design participated and guided the LEED certification process.  These real-world project experiences are invaluable educational tools that not only help students understand the LEED process but give them a leg up in our extremely competitive employment environment.
Funding for Vail Fire and Emergency Services Station 3 was provided by the Town of Vail general fund reserves and from the Capitol Project Fund.