Friday, April 26, 2013

TEDx FrontRange: ELEVATE!

Josie Plaut
The theme this year for Tedx FrontRange is “Elevate.” In the spirit of the pioneering west, a group of fun and engaging speakers (and performers!) will share the ways that they are exploring new frontiers, guiding and inspiring others, and driving innovation.  IBE’s Associate Director, Josie Plaut, will share her ideas on how to go beyond notion of sustainably and toward future that is powered through regeneration.  Simply stated, regeneration is about investing in our future by creating and restoring natural, social and economic capital.  We achieve this through expanding health, vitality and equity in our personal and professional lives. 

Date: May 31, 2013, 1-5pm
Location: Rialto Theater Center, Loveland, CO


More on regeneration….

In recent years, the green industry has introduced a myriad of new tools, products, and standards that help to reduce environmental impacts and encourage more sustainable practices – important steps in the right direction.  Unfortunately, current economic models still rely heavily on depleting natural capital.  Further, the burden to process, manufacture, and sell products is often at the expense of human health and wellbeing.  Here, at a pivotal moment in society, we have the opportunity to change course.  If we are to solve the looming environmental and social crises in time, we must move from using less to creating more. Regeneration is the practice of aligning human activities to give new life, strength and vigor to natural, social, and economic systems. It goes beyond green or sustainable thinking, generally focused on reducing harm, toward a model built on renewal and revitalization.

Regeneration means rebuilding depleted ecosystems, like the Mississippi river delta, or simply riding your bicycle.  It can be a vitalizing urban redevelopment project or the renewal of soils and farming practices in your own garden. Regeneration has many faces, but one purpose: finding what’s broken and creating solutions that are additive, positive and contributive. By shifting mindsets from sustainability to regeneration, we can secure a thriving future for many generations to come.  This paradigm shift is not only necessary, but it is inspiring, refreshing and positive.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Celebrate! CSU: Brian Dunbar, 30 Years

CSU is honoring faculty and staff who have reached service milestones during the 2012-2013 fiscal year at the annual Celebrate! CSU Milestones event, 3-5 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, in the Lory Student Center Theatre.
Brian Dunbar
Brian Dunbar
Brian Dunbar, executive director of the Institute for the Built Environment, grew up surrounded by a family of architects.

I thought going on vacation meant going to see buildings under construction, because it seemed like every time we went on vacation, my dad wanted to see something that was being built,” Dunbar said.

Dunbar grew up in Monroe, Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan for his undergraduate and master’s degrees in architecture. He moved to Fort Collins with his wife, Karen, before landing a job.

Continue reading this article from Today at CSU by Katie Salvato here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

LEED Regionalization for LEED v4

April Brown, IBE Projects Manager

Initially introduced in the LEED 2009 version updates, USGBC recognizes projects for addressing regionally specific environmental issues. In each of the rating systems, bonus points are awarded for projects that meet the requirements for existing LEED credits that address regional issues. There are 6 regional priority credit options and teams can be awarded for up to 4 out of the 6 options. The environmental issues are identified through a rigorous research process by volunteer environmental scientists and green building professionals in Colorado.

LEED v4 Regional Priority Zones for the state of Colorado
As you may have heard, LEED is undergoing another version update, now referred to as LEED v4, which is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2013. Part of the updates to the rating systems include updated regional priority credits. USGBC Colorado Chapter, along with all the other chapters of the USGBC, created a LEED regionalization task force to evaluate which credits to prioritize in LEED v4 for the state of Colorado. The Colorado task force followed a 4-step process to evaluate the environmental issues and their appropriate zones, which took one year. Some regional priority credits will be changing from the regional priority credits in LEED 2009. A few of the task force members will speak in detail about the process and recommendations for LEED v4 regional priority credits at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Green Conference in Denver on Friday, April 26.

Monday, April 8, 2013

IBE is Hiring Graduate Student Interns!

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.

Sustainable Building Associate:

Sustainable 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 two interns this spring and possibly additional interns in the fall.  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 Josie Plaut at and copy Brian Dunbar,

Study by Institute for the Built Environment Reveals Cost Effectiveness, Energy Efficiency, and Positive Human Impact of Green Schools

A report released today by the Institute for the Built Environment details a research study conducted on a national sample of 12 green schools and illustrates the positive impacts of green school design.  The schools participating in the study were designed with sustainability in mind, but had not been evaluated for the design effectiveness or the long-term impact on operations.  Cost and utility data were collected for each sample school and compared to national and regional benchmarks.  In addition, teachers and maintenance staff at each school were questioned to identify common perceptions and observations.  Key results included:

  • Responses to the occupant survey indicate that green school facilities have a positive impact on occupants. Respondents were enthusiastic about their green school with the majority perceiving positive effects on student health, achievement, and behavior.
  • Cost analysis rebuts the common perception that higher design and construction costs must be incurred to build green schools. The majority of green schools in the sample were built below the regional median cost for schools built in the same year.
  • In energy performance, the sample operated above the ENERGY STAR national median, with a sample mean score of 81. A rating of 81 indicates that a building is operating in the top 19th percentile, or better than 81% of similar buildings nationwide. In addition, eight of the schools met or exceeded the Architecture 2030 Challenge 2012 targets for Energy Use Intensity (EUI).
  • Finally, through interviews with facility managers, we confirmed that the buildings’ efficiency is also illustrated through perceived efficiencies in the daily operation and maintenance of the facilities.

The study was commissioned by DLR Group, an integrated design firm with offices across the United States.  This study was pursued in order to evaluate high performance building metrics and to measure the effectiveness of design. The execution of this study is part of a firm-wide effort to evaluate and advance the performance of their designs.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Larimer County's Newest Correctional Facility Earns LEED Gold Certification

Larimer County – The Alternative Sentencing Department just completed construction of their new headquarters, located in east Fort Collins on Prospect Road.  The building has earned a LEED for New Construction Gold Certification, which is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design and construction of high performance green buildings.  LEED consists of five main categories (Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality). Along with these five categories, projects are also eligible for Innovation in Design and Regional Priority credits.

 The Alternative Sentencing Department is a unique program of the Larimer County Criminal Justice Services Division which allows offenders to serve court ordered jail sentences yet remain productive members of the community.  Offenders are housed in the 53,500 square foot, two-story facility under one of two different classifications, Work Release and Work Enders.  The Work Release program houses offenders for an average of two months, during which time they are able to retain a job and leave the facility for the purpose of employment. The Work Ender program offers offenders a way to serve their sentence through a series of overnight stays, during which time they are assigned to a work crew to perform useful labor in the community. 

The new facility provides a benchmark for Larimer County as they seek to shift their operations to more sustainable practices. “First and foremost, we wanted a well-planned building that would contribute to the long-term sustainability of our program. We also wanted to create a sense of ownership in our staff for the building through their involvement in the design process. My past experience showed that going through the LEED process would help do that and would contribute to the long-term operational savings of the building. Finally, we wanted to create a project that was educational for our offenders, our staff, and our community. Since this is my staff’s first LEED certified building, I knew we could benefit by transferring knowledge to our other buildings.” Michael Kirk, Director of Facilities Services Larimer County, Colorado.

The facility is projecting 43% energy cost savings and a 47% reduction in interior water consumption.  Eighty three percent of the construction waste was diverted from landfills through recycling and reuse programs.  22% of materials used in the design and construction were sourced from within 500 miles and 28% of the materials were made from recycled content.  In addition to the reductions in resource consumption, the building is very cost effective for the County compared to a typical high security facility.

Graduate student interns with the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University were directly involved in the LEED coordination and documentation process.  Students in Construction Management, Landscape Architecture and Interior Design graduate programs gained valuable  project experience by participating in and guiding the LEED certification process.  In addition, the building continues to teach every day. Informative panels are hung on the walls are designed to educate staff, students, guests and visitors about the green design elements of the building.

For more information about the new Alternative Sentencing Department facility, see the IBE website, and also view the Executive Summary; and for current local green building events and programs, see the Unites States Green Building Council website at:


Monday, April 1, 2013

New Director of Research Joins Team at Institute for the Built Environment

The Institute for the Built Environment (IBE) is excited to announce the addition of Dr. Jeni Cross to their team, filling the role as Director of Research.  Jeni Cross is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Colorado State University.  Her expertise in energy conservation, community development, professional social networks, social norms, and behavior change align with the IBE’s five research focus areas and provide an applicable skill-set to our outreach and service-learning projects. 

Jeni’s dedication to translating social science research into practice makes her an engaging speaker and a sought-after consultant on projects that seek to create meaningful, sustainable change.  Most recently, Jeni has focused her work on the utilization of social marketing strategies and network analysis in order to inform organizational transformation for sustainability, integrated design, and conservation behavior.

Brian Dunbar, Executive Director of the Institute for the Built Environment shared, “We are very excited to welcome Dr. Cross to IBE. Jeni's social science focus is critical to our work - green building is ultimately about people.   Jeni's ground-breaking work in identifying how notable schools and school districts create a culture of conservation and sustainability continues to receive acclaim from the leading green building researchers and sustainability managers.   Jeni will enhance the depth and breadth of our institute's work in green schools, integrative design, and organizational sustainability and help us to connect with additional disciplines, faculty, and student.”

Jeni is stepping into the role held by Dr. Lenora Bohren for the past seven years.  Lenora made significant contributions to the Institute’s work in healthy indoor environments and advised countless graduate student interns of IBE.  Her new advisory role at IBE will allow her to dedicate more time to advising graduate students and to her position as President of the National Association for Practicing Anthropology. “We appreciate Lenora's research leadership and are thrilled that she will continue to help IBE as she transitions to semi-retirement.” said Brian Dunbar.

Jeni has already begun her work as Director of Research at IBE, working closely with Stephanie Barr, IBE’s Green School Research Associate, on several projects related to green school design and operation. 

Jeni Cross commented, “I have been working with IBE on a variety of projects over the past several years. This new position gives me the opportunity to work more closely with staff and to develop new projects. I look forward to the opportunities I’ll have to expand my own research on sustainability as well as to help IBE expand its research agenda.”

The Institute for the Built Environment, housed in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Colorado State University, fosters stewardship and sustainability of built and natural environments through interdisciplinary research and outreach.