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: