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.

CSU’s University Center for the Arts Gregory Allicar Museum Earns Green Globes Certification

ellie_color

Ellie Troxell
Sustainability Associate, Civil Engineering


Colorado State University – The University Center for the Arts completed construction of their new 6,000 square-foot expansion to the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art in which the Hartford-Tandstad Collection will be featured.  The museum has earned One Green Globe rating from Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors, a green building guidance and assessment tool offered by the Green Building Initiative (GBI).  Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors consists of six environmental assessment areas (Project Management, Energy, Water, Materials and Resources, Emissions and Other Impacts, and Indoor Environment).  Green Globes further offers assessment tools for New Construction and Existing Buildings.  Buildings that achieve 35% or more of the points possible in the Green Globes rating system are eligible for a certification of one, two, three, or four Green Globes.UAM -8b

The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art was the first project, for all stakeholders involved, seeking Green Globes certification.

Green Globes was an excellent rating system to pursue for this project.  University projects are typically a design-build process on a faster-paced schedule.  Green Globes was a very flexible system and assessment process that was adaptable to fit the scope of the project and was less cumbersome than LEED.  Due to our positive experience, Green Globes will be considered for future projects.”  Tony Flores, CSU Facilities Management, Project Manager.

The achievement of a One Green Globe rating reflects a commitment to the design and renovation of the museum with sustainability as a major focus.  One notable accomplishment was the diversion of 93% of construction waste from landfills through recycling and reuse programs, classifying the project as net zero waste.  Linny Frickman, Founding Director of the University Arts Museum adds “The new expansion to the Gregory Allicar Museum is a superb addition to our campus’s arts facilities.  With an extraordinary team of builders, architects, facilities management staff and colleagues in the Institute for the Build Environment, we achieved the kind of building envelope that protects works of art to best-practice standards.  It was important for us to balance the needs of a diverse collection of art objects, such as the need for stringent climate control, with sustainable building practices.  The Green Globes process and designation allowed us to do this and to support the ongoing sustainability efforts at CSU.  When the museum opens on September 10, 2016, I think our audiences will be thrilled with the results and the new arts opportunities that the Allicar brings to the community.

Graduate and undergraduate student interns with the Institute for the Built Environment, at Colorado State University, were directly involved in the Green Globes coordination and documentation process.  Students in Construction Management and Civil Engineering programs were able to gain real-world project experience by participating and guiding the Green Globes certification process.  In addition, the building continues to teach every day.

UAM Exterior 1_small

For more information about this project and other IBE project certifications, visit IBE’s website, http://www.ibe.colostate.edu/certification.aspx; and to learn more about Green Globes, visit: http://www.thegbi.org/.

IBE Facilitates Colorado’s First Outdoor Green Wall

andy

Andy Madrick
Sustainability Associate, Landscape Architecture


In 2014, the City of Fort Collins launched the “Nature in the City” initiative to ensure every citizen has access to nature close to where we live and work. The focus of the initiative is on how our built environment can better contribute to our sense of nature within Fort Collins. One of the deliverables that IBE has been supporting is the development of a set of design guidelines aimed at implementation of design features that enhance ecological function and access to nature within the built environment.

However, many of these approaches have not been proven in our regional climate. One of these design features are ‘living’ or green walls.Living Wall

Partnering to Build Colorado’s First Outdoor Green Wall

IBE lead the administration, design, and installation of the first perennial, outdoor green wall in the State of Colorado in collaboration with: Perspective Design, the Urban Lab, CSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, and The City of Fort Collins Planning, Parks, Operation Services, Stormwater, and Natural Areas departments.

Why a Green Wall?

Green walls improve both indoor and outdoor air quality, provide the building insulation from heat and cold while protecting the wall from water and sunlight.  They help lower summer temperatures in cities by reducing heat gain on hard surfaces, known as the urban heat island effect. Green walls add vegetation to the urban environment and provide habitat for urban animal species.

Green walls are also great for people. Studies have shown that viewing and interacting with greenery reduces stress and mental fatigue, while improving feelings of neighborhood safety and overall well being.

The Fort Collins Green Wall project will serve as a high profile case study on the feasibility and creation of green walls in arid climates. The wall has been designed to showcase plants work best in a vertical setting and how urban habitats can be enhanced through green walls.  The project will continue to monitor success, evaluating the resilience of the plants, the efficiency of watering, and if energy savings are seen in the adjoining building structure.

 

Learn more:

American Society of Landscape Architects, Green Infrastructure

City of Fort Collins Nature in the City Initiative

The Urban Lab 

 

IBE Student Intern Opening!

Are you a student at CSU and have experience with marketing & graphic design?  Please apply for our internship!

Work on a variety of marketing and graphic design projects including collateral, website, copy, presentations, and managing our blog/social media presence. Tasks will include project management, graphic design, marketing, and writing for internal and public facing publications.

  • Internship is paid – $11-13 based on experience.
  • Position will require 5-10 hours per week with the potential for additional hours as project work allows.
  • Hours are flexible during normal business hours.
  • Minimum 18 month commitment, starting April 2016.

Key Functions: Graphic Design, Social Media, & Copy Editing

  • Graphic Design
    • Design and manage IBE marketing collateral
    • Edit and format presentations
    • Support IBE projects and clients in graphic development, report design, presentation design, etc.
  • Social Media
    • Follow key industry trends
    • Disseminate achievements of internal projects
    • Maintain presence on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
    • Manage blog calendar, support author delivery
  • Copy editing
    • Review, write, and manage website content
    • Draft new content for blogs, press releases, etc.
    • Review all content published by IBE for grammar and style

Desired Skills

  • Excellent communication and writing skills
  • Ambition & strong ability to take initiative
  • Exceptional enthusiasm and a commitment to learning
  • Experience with social media and wordpress
  • Experience in basic HTML, CSS, etc.
  • Proficiency with Excel, Word, & PowerPoint
  • Proficiency with Adobe Creative Cloud products (Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design)
  • Ability to commit at least 18 months and work at least 5 hours per week
  • Related course work in design, web development, and writing

About IBE

The Institute for the Built Environment (IBE) is housed within the College of Health and Human Sciences at Colorado State University (CSU) and our mission is to advance the development of healthy, thriving built environments. We form interdisciplinary teams of on-campus faculty and students, and off campus professionals to take research to practice.  Our paid internship program offers experiential education and practical knowledge for students who aspire to be leading sustainability professionals. Students are supported and mentored by senior institute staff and provide professional work products for our clients.

Learn more about our mentorship program.

 

How to apply

Please send the following items to Stephanie Barr at s.barr-at-colostate.edu.

  • Cover letter that includes:
    • An overview of your key strengths, both professionally and personally
    •  A description of your past experiences related to the primary duties and qualifications
    • The reasons you feel you’re a great addition to the IBE team
  • Resume that includes:
    • Previous work experience & current commitments
    • University program and relevant courses
    • 3 References
  • A writing sample (for example: a class paper, blog article, essay, report, etc.)

5 Things You Need to Know about Life Cycle Assessments

ellie_colorEllie Troxell
Sustainability Associate, Civil Engineering


There has been discussion for a number of decades about the environmental impacts of materials and processes, but only recently has a tool been developed in an intentional way to measure those impacts.  The newest addition to the life cycle toolbox is the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).  LCA’s provide valuable information for exploring decisions related to the environmental impacts of buildings, materials, products, and services.

  1. A Life Cycle Assessment is an evaluation of the environmental impacts of products, processes or services through their life cycle.

The International Standard for Organization (ISO), a world-wide federation of standards bodies, has standardized the LCA framework.  ISO-compliant LCA is the most reliable and referenced technique used to verify environmental impacts.  According to ISO 14040 and 14044 standards:

Life cycle is defined as the “consecutive and interlinked stages of a product or service system, from extraction of natural resources to the final disposal.”

lifeLife Cycle Assessment (LCA) is defined as a “systemic set of procedures for compiling and examining the inputs and outputs of materials and energy and the associated environmental impacts directly attributable to the functioning of a product or service system throughout its life cycle.”

In simpler terms, LCA is a systemic evaluation of the environmental impacts of products, processes or services through their life cycle, and—most importantly—provides a tool that supports making sound, considerate environmentally-relevant decisions. It is also worth noting at this juncture that LCA’s do not analyze economic or social impacts—they focus exclusively on the environmental considerations for a product or service.

  1. Life Cycle Assessments are driven by environmental accountability, corporate sustainability, and procurement policies.

In short, pretty much everyone that makes anything has a reason to use LCAs.  LCAs have been conducted on a variety of products and services across a number of sectors—from jeans to jet engines, trash disposal, and computers.  Various factors are driving this new trend.  First, regulations are moving towards “life cycle accountability”, the idea that the manufacturer is not only responsible for the direct production impacts of a product or service, but its inputs, use, transport, and disposal.  For example, the LEED rating system currently has two MR LCA-based credits in LEED v4, following a now-retired LCA pilot credit.  Green Globes, the International Code Council (ICC), the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), ASHRAE, and Calgreen now all provide alternative LCA compliance paths.  Second, business is voluntarily participating in initiatives that involve LCA and other elements of stewardship.  Third, consumer markets and government procurement parameters have started to cite environmental precedence.

  1. Life Cycle Assessments follow a 4-phase process.

So now you know what an LCA is, and why they are useful.  But how might you go about actually doing a Life Cycle Assessment?  The following four main phases briefly define the LCA process:

Goals & Scoping – Identifies the purpose of the LCA, determines which environmental concerns will be included in the study, and notes all assumptions based on the goal definition.

Inventory – Quantifies the life-cycle for all environmental inputs and outputs of the parts of the building, material, service, or product system involved in the LCA.

Impact Assessment – The assessment takes inventory data given the inputs and converts the information to indicators for a given category. Typically, LCA reports on these environmental effects due to a product, building or service:

  • Fossil fuel depletion
  • Other non-renewable resource use
  • Water use
  • Global warming potential
  • Stratospheric ozone depletion
  • Ground level ozone (smog) creation
  • Eutrophication of water bodies
  • Acidification and acid deposition (dry and wet)
  • Toxic releases to air, water and land

Interpretation – This last step is an analysis of the data evaluating opportunities to reduce waste at each step of the product life-cycle and defines whether the conditions of the goal and scope have been met.

For a typical product, the environmental life cycle impacts (commonly known as “cradle-to-grave” impacts) include the extraction of raw materials, the processing, manufacturing, and fabrication; the transportation or distribution of the product to the consumer; and the disposal or recovery of the product after its useful life.  It is worth keeping in mind, however, that these may not be applicable to every product; there may be instances where one or more are not of particular environmental concern.

  1. There are a wealth of tools to make Life Cycle Assessments easier and faster to conduct.

There are a few tools already available for anyone interested in conducting an LCA.  The following tools differ due to the purpose of the LCA.  Explore which might be the best fit for your purpose:

  1. The two-sides to Life Cycle Assessments: Benefits & Pitfalls.

While LCAs highlight important considerations in the development of a product, they are not yet a silver bullet for environmental concerns.  Thus, it is worth keeping in mind both the benefits of LCAs, as well as those areas where they may fall short.

Benefits Pitfalls
• Pragmatic standard for green design (performance-based)

• Ability to evaluate opportunities to affect environmental improvements

• Introduces the notion of calculating the environmental footprint of a product/service/building

• Greater awareness of environmental implications

• Creates common metrics that can be shared and compared to help choosing one path over another

• Improve product/ corporate image

• Reduce environmental impact & waste

• Difficulty in assessing the environmental effects of resource extraction (biodiversity, water quality, soil stability not easily measured and only minimally addressed in LCA)

• Can be costly and time-consuming limiting their use as analysis techniques

• Quantity of assumptions (all rough estimates)

• Limited ability to account for land-use impacts


 

References:

Athena Institute (2016). About LCA. Retrieved from http://www.athenasmi.org/resources/about-lca/who-does-lca-why/

Williams, Aida S. (2009). Life Cycle Analysis: A Step by Step Approach. ISTC Reports. http://www.istc.illinois.edu/info/library_docs/tr/tr40.pdf