Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Berry Prairie: Native Biodiversity in a Rooftop Landscape

A current project of the Institute for the Built Environment, the Berry Center at the University of Wyoming, recently completed an extensive vegetative roof.   The University of Wyoming filled the vegetative roof with plant species found within a 40 mile radius of Laramie.  This roof is a prime example of a building being used as a research and teaching tool.  To read more about the components of the roof, and how it is being used by UW professors and students, visit their blog:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Planning to attend Greenbuild?

We hope you will join us Wednesday, October 5th for Green Schools that Teach: Whole-School Sustainability

What constitutes a successful green school? Through a nationwide research study, we are learning that success involves more than innovative green building. A high-performing green school should also be a teaching tool by actively engaging users. Several green schools that have integrated sustainability and green building within their core curricula were analyzed. The results of this study will showcase the various methods, processes, and resources used to create learning environments that actively 'teach' all building users.

Stephanie Barr, M.A. LEED AP BD+C
Green School Specialist, IBE
Katharine Leigh, Ph.d. LEED AP BD+C
Professor, Department of Design & Merchandising, CSU
Brian Dunbar, M.Arch. LEED AP
Executive Director, IBE

Thursday, September 1, 2011

High Performing Schools on the way for Laramie County School District

Recently, the Institute for the Built Environment kicked off a “High Performing Schools” project with the Laramie County School District, based in Cheyenne, WY.  The green schools project will bring together teachers, students, administrators and community members to collectively envision how all schools in the district can be more energy efficient, employ renewable energy strategies, increase water efficiency, reduce waste, and create healthier school environments. 

IBE will be involved in teaching district teachers how to use their school building and grounds to teach about sustainability, work with students to understand the potential of clean energy and other emerging fields of study, and help school facilities staff to discover ways to increase efficiencies in their new and existing schools.

IBE hosts a Regenerative Leadership Workshop in Grand Lake, Colorado

Twenty leaders in sustainable design, development, and theory attended the workshop held at Shadowcliff, a retreat center in Grand Lake.  Brian Dunbar and Josie Plaut, directors of the Institute for the Built Environment (IBE)  facilitated the workshop along with Bob Berkebile, lead architect on the first certified “Living Building” in the world and the leader in the rebuilding of Greensburg, Kansas. Attendees included Sustainability Directors from government, private industry, and non-profits.  During the 4 day workshop, the attendees focused on the Living Environments in Natural, Social, and Economic Systems (LENSES) framework created by IBE and worked with representatives of the Grand Lake community to envision a “regeneration”  of the Trail River Ranch property within Rocky Mountain National Park.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Innosphere earns LEED Platinum | Northern Colorado Business Report

July 22, 2011 --
FORT COLLINS - The Rocky Mountain Innosphere, 320 E. Vine St. in Fort Collins, has earned LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. The Innosphere was recognized for its low energy and water use, natural lighting, solar generation, regionally sourced materials and diverting construction waste from the landfill.

The 32,260-square-foot building opened in January and houses about two dozen startup companies in the fields of clean energy, bioscience, information technology, innovation and research. The nonprofit Innosphere was formerly known as the Rocky Mountain Innovation Initiative or RMI2.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification provides an objective and internationally recognized standard for what constitutes a "green" or high-performance building. A very small percentage of buildings across the country actually achieve the Platinum designation, the highest level awarded.

The Innosphere's sustainable building milestones included 35 percent less indoor water use than a typical office building; 80 percent construction waste diversion; 32 percent recycled content of materials; 21 percent regional material procurement, and the generation of 27 percent of total energy cost of the building through on-site solar cells, according to the USGBC. Other notable features include abundant natural day-lighting, low-emitting and nontoxic materials, paints and finishes, and the implementation of a measurement and verification plan to track energy and systems that can quickly identify any efficiency issues.

"The success of the Innosphere is a result of a focused community effort that involved excellent collaboration from project conception through integrated design and construction," according to Brian Dunbar, executive director of the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University, part of the Innosphere project team. Other members included Preview Architecture, Sherman Design LLC, Beaudin Ganze Consulting Engineers, Verde Project Development, Dohn Construction and Wirsol Solar.

For more information on the Innosphere, go to

Article published by NCBR.

Call for Applicants!

Student Team Member, 
R2P2 (Research to Practice Program) Team

The Institute for the Built Environment has been selected by the U.S. Green Building Council to pilot a national initiative to develop educational products from green building case studies.  The goal of these “teaching case studies” is to illustrate general green building principles, to illustrate the application of specific green strategies, and to give learners the tools to apply principles and strategies in their own unique situations.  The R2P2 team will work together to develop issue-based stories based on case study data, guided analysis for learners, and teaching notes for instructors.

Position Description

IBE staff and a small, diverse group of graduate students will form the R2P2 Team.  A student is desired from the programs of Construction Management, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Business Management, Technical Journalism, and Education with interests in green building, sustainable schools, teaching, and/or curriculum development.

The diverse Student Team Member experience will closely resemble a graduate level course.  Each student will design and develop an educational product, guided by team leaders.  Students will be required to attend weekly team meetings and periodic individual meetings with team leaders.  A strong sense of self direction, motivation, and innovation is required. Skills in design, video, communication and web are a plus.

This single semester experience will end with the completion of example educational products in early December.  The student created projects will be compiled into a publication for dissemination to teachers and professionals across the nation. Total expected time commitment is estimated at 45-55 hours. Course credit may be pursued through an independent study if desired.  Stipends of $500 will be granted to students upon project completion.

If you are interested, please send a resume and letter of interest to Stephanie Barr, , and copy Brian Dunbar,  Applications due by August 26th.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

LENSES Named Global Challenges Research Team By School of Global Environmental Sustainability at CSU

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University has named the 2011-2012 awards for Global Challenges Research Teams, or GCRTs, and Resident Faculty Fellows. In a move to encourage interdisciplinary understanding of complex global environmental issues, the school selected six diverse GCRTs and five Fellows from a wide range of proposals submitted this spring.

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability, or SoGES, funds research projects that are interdisciplinary in nature, involving faculty members and researchers from across colleges. These projects focus on at least two of the school’s research focal areas including climate change and energy; food security; environmental institutions and governance; land and water resources; sustainable communities; and biodiversity, conservation and management.

LENSES Research Team - Living Environments in Natural, Social, and Economic Systems, Principal Investigators - Brian Dunbar and Lenora Bohren, both with the Institute for the Built Environment. LENSES is designed to lead teams through planning, designing and implementing transformative change to address pressing environmental, social and economic issues stemming from the built environment. 

For the full article visit:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

APS Celebrates Prestigious Design Award

Vista PEAK P-8 Project Team receives LEED Gold award.
Vista PEAK Exploratory P-8 has earned LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized green building certification system. The Vista PEAK P-8 project is the first LEED designation awarded to the district.

The APS Leadership Team and the Board of Education recognized the Vista PEAK P-8 project team for the LEED award at the June 7 board meeting.

By setting design and construction goals early in project planning, the Vista PEAK project team recycled more than 76 percent of construction waste. The team also expects the completed building to use resources and energy more efficiently—with an estimated 40 percent reduction in water usage and a 44 percent reduction in energy consumption, compared to a typical building of this size.

Vista PEAK’s green building design also provides an exceptional teaching tool.  Building design information and real time energy data is displayed on a “Green Touch Screen” located in the school lobby. Teachers and students can also access this information online for classroom curriculum. To see how the building is performing, visit

The Vista PEAK project team included APS Design & Construction; APS Maintenance and Operations; SLATERPAULL/RB+B, a joint venture; JVA Consulting Engineers; Design Concepts; REI Structural; Envision Mechanical Engineers; MKK Consulting Engineers; Architectural Energy Consultants; FCI Construction; and the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University. Funding for design assistance was provided by Xcel Energy’s Energy Design Assistance Program.

Vista PEAK Exploratory P-8 is one of several construction projects made possible by bond funds approved by APS voters in 2008. The school is part of the APS P-20 Campus, which provides a seamless and integrated education experience for students from preschool through higher education. Vista PEAK Preparatory (high school) is currently under construction on the same campus. For more information about the Vista PEAK campus, visit

“Aurora Public Schools is excited to accept its first LEED certification. We began the process hoping for a basic certification and were pleased to achieve Gold. We found that many of the project’s sustainability goals involved strategies that we typically apply on projects, but we also discovered how even small changes in our approach to design and construction could significantly improve the sustainability of the finished project.”- Amy Spatz, APS Design & Construction Manager

Story published by Aurora Public Schools.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Internship Announcement

The Institute for the Built Environment (IBE) at Colorado State University is accepting applications from first year graduate students in Construction Management, Interior Design, Business Management, Civil Engineering, and Landscape Architecture with an interest in sustainable design, development, and green building for the position described below.

Green Building Associate:

Green Building Associates at IBE gain skills and work experience, such as project management, integrated design, LEED coordination and certification, design charrette facilitation, green products and materials research, through a variety of research and professional projects. Associate internships typically start at 5-10 hours per week with the potential for additional hours as project work allows.  IBE anticipates hiring up to three interns this summer and possibly additional interns later in the school year.  IBE has been recognized for this green jobs training model in a recent USGBC publication, Hands-on LEED, available at

If you are interested, please send a resume and letter of interest to April Wackerman at (and copy Brian Dunbar,