Thursday, November 29, 2012

Institute for the Built Environment received $50,000 grant

By: Dell Rae Moellenberg

The General Services Administration has selected Colorado State University's Institute for the Built Environment as a partner in a collaborative research effort to further develop its Knowledge Network.

Through the $50,000 grant, IBE will identify and summarize published, peer-reviewed, field-tested original research related to high performance building technologies and practices for operations, building, energy and asset management in the federal government and private sectors. The summary information will create an educational foundation to help building operators and users optimize facility efficiencies.

The General Services Administration’s hopes the project will provide education and increase adoption of proven high performance green building technologies and strategies and best practices. Target audiences include facility, energy and project managers, and procurement and budget personnel.

“We are honored to be selected by GSA to perform this important sustainable operations work. All of us in the green building world are searching for methods to assure that our green buildings continue to operate sustainably long after they are built,” said Brian Dunbar, executive director of the IBE.

Knowledge Network focuses on education

The Knowledge Network establishes a multi-channel education and communication platform about energy research. This platform will disseminate information about best practices, guidelines, standards, decision tools and educational content focused on sustainable and cost-effective facility to targeted audiences within GSA, and federal and private sectors.

The Institute for the Built Environment, a research center based in the College of Applied Human Sciences since 1994, has a mission to foster built and natural environment stewardship and sustainability through an interdisciplinary, research-based educational forums. IBE brings together faculty, students and off-campus professionals to collaborate on applied green building, sustainable development and organizational sustainability projects.

*This article was originally published in Today at Colorado State

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Interrelationship of Bicycles and Green Building

By: Becky Moriarty, Sustainable Building Associate
                                  M.S. Construction Management

Aside from being a construction management graduate student and a green building consultant at IBE, I also work for the City of Fort Collins FC Bikes program.  People are generally intrigued by this combination because they see little relation between bike transportation efforts and green building efforts.  To me, the two are almost inseparable.  Like the green building movement, promoting bicycles as a mode of transportation is a constant uphill battle. While they both have numerous positive impacts on human, environmental and economic health, people are hesitant to change. The triple bottom line goals of green building efforts seem to partner perfectly with those of bike transportation initiatives.

Human Health

In general, US cities are designed around the car.  Wide streets, vast parking lots, and urban sprawl dominate our landscape.  Urban sprawl not only deteriorates our natural environment, but also our health.  Nationwide studies have found that most sprawling metropolitan counties tend to have the highest rates of obesity and the lowest levels of physical activity.  As our waistlines and cities continue to grow, promoting riding a bicycle seems like a no brainer.  Not only does riding a bike burn calories, it also improves coordination, mental health and immune system.  Like green buildings that address indoor air quality and work to create healthy spaces, riding a bike inherently improves human health.

Environmental Health

While the production and end-of-life disposal of bicycles do have negative environmental impacts, the day-to-day use of a bicycle is a much more sustainable choice than a car.  Run on human energy, bicycles don’t pollute or produce harmful emissions.  According to the League of American Bicyclists, 60% of pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively.  Therefore, short car trips, or engine “warm-up” trips, are the worst polluters.  With that, the US Census estimates that about ½ of all Americans live within 5 miles of their workplace, a distance that is typically manageable for a bike commute.  In terms of space, a bicycle needs less area on the road and less room to park as compared to an automobile.  The City of Muenster Planning Office created an advertising campaign to show the space used by various modes of transportation: a car, a bus and a bicycle.  The photo below gives a great visual representation of the results:

Bicycles require less infrastructure in general to maintain pathways.  They allow for the movement of persons in a much more confinded space than the typical automobile, minimizing the impact on the natural environment.

Economic Health

In terms of healthcare, it is estimated that the annual cost due to people being overweight or obese in the US is $117 billion.  With that, the potential annual healthcare savings if Americans were more active is $76.6 billion!   Bike facilities also have a smaller impact than their automobile counterparts.  Bike parking, for example, is much cheaper and less invasive than automobile parking.  According to, a typical surface area car parking space costs $2,200 and a garage parking space costs about $12,500.  That’s for 1 car!  That same space can fit 10-12 bikes at a fraction of the price.  Additionally, a bicycle is considerably cheaper to own and maintain than an automobile.  No gas, no insurance and low-cost repairs make transportation by bicycle manageable economically.


Just as in promoting green building in the construction world, there are many obstacles to promoting bicycling in a car-centric transportation world.  People are hesitant to change their behaviors, no matter what the potential benefits might be.  It takes a champion or two to take the first leap before the masses follow.  And just as the green building movement has slowly caught on in popularity, bicycle transportation is bound to follow.

[1] Reid Ewing et al., “Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Physical Activity, Obesity, and Mortality,” American Journal of
Health Promotion, Sept./Oct. 2003; vol.18, n.1; pp.47-57; Russ Lopez, “Urban Sprawl and Risk for Being Overweight or Obese,”
American Journal of Public Health, Sept. 2004; v.94, n.9; pp. 1574-1579.

Monday, November 5, 2012

CSU professor named LEED Fellow, highest honor of Green Building Certification Institute

By: Dell Rae Moellenberg
Brian Dunbar, a professor emeritus at Colorado State University and executive director of CSU's Institute for the Built Environment -- also known as IBE, was recently honored with being named a LEED Fellow, the highest award from Green Building Certification Institute.
Brian Dunbar
Brian Dunbar
“Brian is a true green-building pioneer,” said Dana Villeneuve, who worked with Dunbar as an intern at IBE. “He has contributed a great deal to the green building movement, and the honor of being elected a LEED Fellow is well-deserved.”

The LEED Fellow is the third and final tier to the LEED Professional Exams, which serve as a mark of competence and esteemed qualification. Newly added in 2010, this tier was created to recognize those who have served 10 plus years of exemplary work in green-build practices.

“It's an honor to be recognized for the green building teaching and community service-learning projects our institute has assisted with. I'm fortunate to be part of Colorado State and its land grant mission which values applied research allowed me to 'practice what we teach,' right alongside with leading green architects, engineers and builders," Dunbar said.

Roots in building from childhood

Dunbar’s talent and excellence came from his family, and that is essentially what first interested him.

“My father and grandfather were architects in Michigan. I loved to tour their buildings and I loved to learn to draw, especially buildings,” Dunbar said.

Buildings were a love, but also from an early start he was interested in clean buildings, he said. He wrote a term paper about energy crisis and the need for solar energy in high school and while in college at the University of Michigan he focused on alternative energy in buildings.

“I have asthma, so am highly sensitive to healthy buildings and environments,” Dunbar said.

Work has impacted many

After earning two architecture degrees from the University of Michigan, he has since become a mentor to many, co-authored a book, “147 Tips on Teaching Sustainability,” and has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects, the U.S. Green Building Council-Colorado Chapter, the Colorado governor and the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado.

As the executive director of the IBE, Dunbar has been an influential resource for many CSU students and Northern Colorado in general, developing programs like Living Environments in Natural, Social & Economic Systems or LENSES, green schools and facilitating several charrettes to fulfill IBE’s goal of partnering for a regenerative future.

“He has quite literally educated thousands of people about the importance of building sustainably. He has served as a mentor to many undergraduate and graduate students, inspiring them to move on to careers of their own in the green building industry,” Villeneuve said.

Dunbar has done this by adopting the idea of an integrated approach, the focus of the GBCI’s LEED Rating System.

Villeneuve describes this rating system as “a more collaborative, team-effort approach to design in which everyone’s opinion is equally valued, from the principal of the architecture firm to the janitor in charge of cleaning the floors.”

This system was initiated and implemented by IBE at Fort Collin’s Fossil Ridge High School, the new edition to CSU’s Rockwell Hall (west), The Rocky Mountain Innosphere and many more buildings.

“Dunbar is a visionary leader, he always has an optimistic outlook in regards to sustainability, and how we can accomplish it,” said Stephanie Barr, Green School Specialist.

“He is gentle and patient as well as encouraging in driving toward higher levels of achievement,” said Josie Plaut who wrote Dunbar’s nomination letter for the LEED Fellow and is director of projects at IBE.

The Institute for the Built Environment is in the College of Applied Human Sciences at CSU.

*This publication was originally published in Today at Colorado State.

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.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

CAPPA Leadership Conference 2012

Presenter: April Wackerman, Project Manger
Title: CAPPA Leadership Conference 2012
Date: Oct. 15-17, 2012
Audience: Physical Plant Administrators in Higher Education in the Central Region of the US

IBE was invited to speak on the feasibility of LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance at College Campuses at the Central Association of Physical Plant Administrators in Higher Education Leadership Conference in October. Central Association of Physical Plant Administrator’s (CAPPA) purpose is to develop and maintain high standards in the administration, maintenance, operation, planning, and development of physical plant facilities of institutions of higher learning, and to promote professional ideals and standards to better serve the objectives of higher education. IBE was invited based a recent study conducted at Colorado State University where IBE and Facilities Management analyzed gaps, barriers and opportunities in pursuing LEED for EB: O&M certification on university campuses. LEED certification provides a framework for developing and implementing best management practices in operations and maintenance. Universities and campuses, however, struggle to allocate the human resources required for program and policy development and implementation, in addition to the financial resources required for building assessments and improvements. IBE outlined the process for pursuing LEED EB: O&M certification, the challenges with this one-building-at-a-time certification program for campuses, and offers a streamlined process. IBE highlighted lessons learned from a building currently pursuing certification at CSU and action steps to consider when implementing at your own physical plant.

For speaking engagements or more information on this topic please contact April Wackerman at

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.

New IBE Website Launched

By: Stephanie Barr, Research Assistant & Green Schools Specialist

We are excited to announce the launch of our new website! The changes to our site better reflect our research initiatives and focus areas, diversity of projects, education, and service learning activities. Special additions include a news slider on the home page to highlight projects, events, news, and publications, and a projects database with a dynamic sort feature.

We wish to thank the College of Applied Human Sciences Dean’s office staff for their support of this project! Special thanks to Dave Carpenter, Jennifer Garvey, John Coleman, and Brayden Love.

You can visit our new webpage here.