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 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.
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

Thompson School District’s High Plains School | Loveland, CO


Photo courtesy of RB+B Architects

Thompson School District’s High Plains School has received its LEED Gold certification. This is the first LEED Certified building in Thompson School District. This new 63,000-square-foot Pre-K – 8 complex recently opened in eastern Loveland and houses 590 students. A design charrette brought together parents, neighbors, and district staff culminating in a schematic concept centered on east/west wings separated by a glass-lined hallway, allowing for separation of public and educational spaces while doubling as a student gallery. The gallery showcases student projects and artwork through unique cable displays and will help students to connect with, and learn from, their peers.

North and south facing windows create optimal daylighting conditions for both portions of the building. The north wing houses administrative offices, the Pre-K and Kindergarten suites, a gymnasium, and cafeteria. The south wing houses classrooms for 1st through 8th grades, as well as over 4,500 square feet of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) space, which will be used to facilitate 21st century and project-based learning goals.

IBE’s Role

IBE has provided guidance through sustainability research and consulting, facilitation of the integrated design process, and LEED assessment and documentation process.


  • 59% annual energy savings
  • 20% water use reduction
  • 50% of the construction waste was diverted from the landfill
  • 22% recycled/salvaged materials
  • 90% of the regularly occupied spaces are daylight
  • 100% of the building’s electricity is offset by the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs)


Location: 4255 Buffalo Mountain Drive, Loveland, CO

Certification: LEED Gold Certification

Project Type: K-12 Elementary/Middle School

Owner: Thompson School District

Architect: RB+B Architects

Contractor: Saunders Construction

Client: Thompson School District

Other Project Links: High Plains Pre-K-8 School and TSD High Plains School

Colorado State University’s Lory Student Center South Revitalization | Fort Collins, CO



Photo courtesy of Lory Student Center

Colorado State University’s Lory Student Center South Revitalization has received its LEED Silver certification. The Lory Student Center is the heart of the campus and the center of student life at Colorado State University. The LSC has served as a gathering place for students, faculty, staff, and University visitors since 1962. Some 50 years later, the LSC embarked upon a renovation to improve building infrastructure, highlight student diversity programs and services, clarify wayfinding, and expand spaces for student learning. Dark hallways are now open to daylight and views of the mountains, students gather in common areas and abundant meeting spaces, and the University commitment to diversity is more visible and tangible. The new Lory Student Center is a place to meet and make connections, a nexus point that is firmly rooted in history of our past and the promise of our future.

IBE’s Role

IBE has provided guidance through sustainability research and consulting, facilitation of the integrated design process, and the LEED assessment and documentation process. IBE has also assisted in creating a case study and educational signage for the building to create occupant awareness of the buildings high performance features and green building strategies.


  • 17% energy cost reduction
  • 35% water use reduction
  • 56% of existing building maintained
  • 21% recycled/salvaged materials
  • 100% of the building’s electricity is offset by the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs)
  • 5 integrated design charrettes/workshops utilized during the design process

Location: 1101 Center Avenue Mall, Fort Collins, CO

Certification: LEED Silver

Project Type: Student Center/Higher Education

Owner: Colorado State University

Architect: Perkins + Will and Aller-Lingle-Massey Architects P.C.

Contractor: Saunders Construction

Client: Colorado State University

Meet the Intern: Amelia Howe, Sustainability Associate


Amelia Howe
Sustainability Associate

I recently graduated from CSU with my BS in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and a minor in Global Environmental Sustainability. With programs like mine that focus on natural resources and natural resource management, the connection to the built environment may not seem obvious. However, with increasing urbanization and population growth, urban ecosystems and our built environment have officially connected with nature. I am surprised it took me so long to realize that these entities need to work together as a single system rather than act as two separate systems to thrive, and I owe the majority of this realization to my work with IBE and my CSU courses in Human Dimensions.

Finding IBE

So how did a natural resource student


Brian Dunbar, Amelia Howe, and Katie Vega after a Denver Water facilitation.

find her passion in the realm of urban and regional
design and the built environment? Rewind to Summer of 2015. I was interning with the US Forest Service and volunteering with the City of Fort Collins Environmental Planning department when I met Brian Dunbar, IBE’s executive director, on a walking tour of Fort Collins. He told me all about IBE and a project called “Nature in the City” that immediately sparked my interest. I left that fateful tour with a business card in hand and a mission in mind: become a part of IBE’s team. I remember interviewing for my position a few weeks later and feeling that my background did not relate much to IBE’s mission to “Advance the development of healthy, thriving built environments,” but IBE saw the connections between my work and its mission in ways that I was not yet able to understand.

Discovering the Built Environment Lens

I will never forget my first day on the job. I took a deep breath, walked in, and dove straight into a sustainable affordable housing design charrette. Talk about intimidating. At that point, I knew nothing about the building and design process, and had to look up the word “charrette” before I left my house that morning. While I felt a bit out of place at first, it was in this meeting where I began to see the connection between people and place through a new lens. We were discussing plans for a new development and the conversation was not focused on time, money, and convenience, but instead on how healthy, efficient buildings lead to healthy, thriving humans. It all began to click for me in that four-hour design charrette; the connections foreseen by my mentors finally made sense to me.

The Intersect of Urban & Natural

Amelia Blog.jpgDuring my time with IBE, I have been given the opportunity to dive headfirst into an abundance of diverse project work. With each new project comes new lessons learned, new additions to my “professionalism toolbox,” and new realizations of how I can apply my passion of the natural-urban intersect in the real world. From corporate sustainability projects with Denver International Airport and Harrison Street Real Estate (a $12B asset management company), to city planning initiatives like Nature in the City and the Green Built Environment Program, to LEED and other green building projects like the new Warner College Building addition, it is safe to say I have cultivated a unique project portfolio. Looking at these projects on the surface, one may wonder how I did this all in the scope of one internship. I did not understand it at first either, but the answer is this: the one tie that these entirely different projects share is the importance of sustainability, in all scales and forms. If we are intentional in the way we operate our businesses, build our buildings, develop our city plans, and make purchasing decisions, we can make huge differences on not only a local scale, but also a global scale.


Fast forward to the present. I have just accepted a job offer as program administrator of field education with Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming, and am transitioning out of my project work at IBE. I can confidently say I understand what a design charrette is, and can even help facilitate one. I feel that I have gained a lifetime’s worth of professional experience in the span of two years and I never could have felt this confident entering into my new job than I do now thanks to the mentoring and professional development IBE has offered me. IBE was the best part of my undergraduate experience at CSU, and I will always be so grateful for the skills I gained through the mentoring program and the projects I tackled. On to the next adventure I go!

Upcoming Event! Better Decisions Faster: The Social Science of Integrative Design

Thursday, Sept. 8, 12-1 p.m. at the Alliance Center in Denver

Cost: FREE


Join IBE to hear insights from its research paper, “The Social Network of Integrative Design.” Learn how to make the integrated design process expedite the decision-making process and elevate the quality of decisions. Register.

Upcoming Event! EcoDistricts Research Symposium

Sept. 13-15 in Denver

Join urban leaders to explore how district-scale innovation can address critical issues facing today’s cities. On Sept. 15, IBE and CSU will co-sponsor the inaugural EcoDistricts Research Symposium, which will highlight IBE’s collaborative efforts to develop district-scale sustainability solutions that support replicable metrics. Register.