For Northern Colorado green building, Fort Collins in LEED

FORT COLLINS – Northern Colorado is home to 13 percent of the state’s most energy-efficient buildings, according to data from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Building projects certified by the Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program abound in Northern Colorado, with Fort Collins leading the pack. Colorado has 576 certified LEED projects statewide, with 75 of them located in cities and towns throughout Larimer and Weld counties.

In recent years, buildings such as the Rocky Mountain Innosphere have thrust Fort Collins into the top of the regional rankings in terms of square footage of LEED- certified projects. Greeley and Longmont, meanwhile, have a handful of projects certified as environmentally friendly by the Green Building Council.

As part of the LEED program, buildings receive credit for reducing impacts on water and ecosystems resources, improving energy efficiency, recycling building materials and reducing waste, among other categories.

Fort Collins has about 14 square feet of certified LEED projects per capita, ranking it No. 1 in Northern Colorado. At 42 projects, the city also has nearly four times as many LEED projects as Loveland, which has 11 projects.

Loveland ranks No. 2 in Northern Colorado in terms of LEED square footage per capita while Windsor rounds out the top three. However, no city can catch Denver and Boulder, with about 55 and 30 square feet of LEED-certified space per capita, respectively.

Fort Collins and Loveland outrank cities such as Greeley and Longmont, both of which have about two square feet of LEED-certified space per capita. Loveland and Fort Collins also outrank Colorado Springs, which has six square feet of LEED-certified projects per capita.

Northern Colorado’s LEED renaissance started at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, the city’s first LEED project certified in 2005, said Brian Dunbar, executive director of Colorado State University’s Institute for the Built Environment.


Along with Poudre Valley School District, the city of Fort Collins and CSU led the way in LEED-certified buildings in Fort Collins, according to Dunbar and Josie Plaut, associate director of the institute. Fort Collins businesses followed the sustainable-building trend, and it wasn’t long before Loveland began embracing it.


“There were a number of professionals in Denver and Fort Collins and areas in between that sought their own certification and their own learning,” Dunbar said. “Some of it was provided by us.”


While Fort Collins’ LEED projects have dominated, Loveland lays claim to Medical Center of the Rockies, the 528,000-square-foot University of Colorado Health hospital certified as LEED gold, the second-highest rating in the certification program. Opened Feb. 14, 2007, the hospital used environmentally friendly paint and carpet and reused most of the concrete and asphalt from the property, meaning those materials did not end up in a landfill.


The hospital incorporates use of natural lighting, not only creating a good healing environment but also reducing electricity bills, which usually run high in the hospital business.


Hospitals consume 836 trillion British thermal units of energy annually, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Hospitals also have more than 2.5 times the energy intensity and carbon dioxide emissions of commercial office buildings, producing more than 30 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per square foot.


“We do operate our facilities 24/7,´ said Dan Coxall, regional director of facilities services for UC Health. “Anything we can do to reduce that energy load 1) reduces our carbon footprint and 2) reduces our cost of operation.”


Other LEED-certified buildings in Loveland include ones built by Loveland-based development company McWhinney, including two LEED-silver office buildings in Centerra totaling 144,000 square feet. McWhinney plans another office building in the development and is considering LEED certification for the building, said Jay Hardy, vice president and general manager of Centerra.


McWhinney also sought LEED credit for actions such as recycling concrete and asphalt when it demolished Cloverleaf Kennel Club. Hardy calls it “deconstruction,” which cost the company an extra couple hundred thousand dollars.


Specific plans for LEED construction will depend on what its clients desire, but Hardy believes Northern Colorado will see additional projects in the future – not just in Centerra.


“Having new LEED class A buildings in Northern Colorado in the next 12 to 18 months is very likely,” he said.


FORT COLLINS – Northern Colorado is home to 13 percent of the state’s most energy-efficient buildings, according to data from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Building projects certified by the Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program abound in Northern Colorado, with Fort Collins leading the pack. Colorado has 576 certified LEED projects statewide, with 75 of them located in cities and towns throughout Larimer and Weld counties.

In recent years, buildings such as the Rocky Mountain Innosphere have thrust Fort Collins into the top of the regional rankings in terms of square footage of LEED- certified projects. Greeley and Longmont, meanwhile, have a handful of projects certified as environmentally friendly by the Green Building Council.

As part of the LEED program, buildings receive credit for reducing impacts on water and ecosystems resources, improving energy efficiency, recycling building materials and reducing waste, among other categories.

Fort Collins has about 14 square feet of certified LEED projects per capita, ranking it No. 1 in Northern Colorado. At 42 projects, the city also has nearly four times as many LEED projects as Loveland, which has 11 projects.

Loveland ranks No. 2 in Northern Colorado in terms of LEED square footage per capita while Windsor rounds out the top three. However, no city can catch Denver and Boulder, with about 55 and 30 square feet of LEED-certified space per capita, respectively.

Fort Collins and Loveland outrank cities such…