Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.29
Liaison Tonie Miyamoto
Submission Date March 23, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Colorado State University
IN-2: Innovation 2

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Carol Dollard
Energy Engineer
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
CSU Powerhouse and Energy Institute

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

The Energy Institute at Colorado State University (alternatively the CSU Powerhouse), is a model for combining sustainably remodeled spaces specifically designed as a 'powerhouse' for innovation in sustainability. This innovation credit is a meant to demonstrate a purpose driven space built to LEED Platinum standards to house sustainability programs that go above and beyond the typical "sustainable research" points in STARS.

The Energy Institute at Colorado State University, which coordinates energy-related research across campus, is headquartered at the Powerhouse Energy Campus. Thirteen campus-wide research centers are affiliated with the Institute. This is CSU’s epicenter of Energy Research.

The Institute aims to grow the impact, reach, and reputation of energy research and education at Colorado State University by increasing collaboration with industry and governmental partners, creating new research and educational opportunities for CSU faculty and students, and accelerating the dissemination of CSU solutions.

This cross-campus, interdisciplinary effort is operated under the Office of the Vice President for Research. The extensive network of researchers, research programs, and centers, spans all eight colleges at CSU, and extends off campus to a global network of public and private partners.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

Both the programs housed within this center, as well as some its building features qualify it for a STARS Innovation point:
- The old coal hopper has been replaced with a greenhouse in which researchers can grow biofuel feedstocks. The smokestacks houses four vertical-axis wind turbines.
- The Powerhouse Campus achieves 50 percent to 55 percent energy savings when compared to other commercial/industrial buildings – well above the 48 percent required to meet LEED Platinum status. The Powerhouse does not contain a traditional air conditioning system. Instead, the building is cooled by a 26-mile network of tubing that circulates chilled water. The system relies on Colorado’s cool nightly temperatures to chill the water, and uses a predictive control system that monitors the building in relationship to the weather forecast.
- The current array of rooftop solar panels generates 20 kilowatts of electricity, which will help power the building. Additional panels will be installed in 2015 and will produce another 25 kilowatts of power.
- The metal panels on the outside of the addition are the same as what is used in commercial freezer systems. The pre-finished, interlocking panels help prevent air leaking from the building.
- The building’s fiberglass window frames and glass pane have an R-value of 7.5, more than two times higher than the energy efficiency rating of conventional aluminum window frame systems.
- The entire building is outfitted with customized low-voltage LED lights that attach to ceiling with magnets. Heat from the lights is absorbed by the floor slabs and is transferred back into the system.

For additional information about programs, see the attached letter.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum ---
Research Yes
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Air & Climate ---
Buildings Yes
Dining Services ---
Energy Yes
Grounds ---
Purchasing ---
Transportation ---
Waste ---
Water ---
Coordination, Planning & Governance ---
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
---

The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.