An innovative green style of building is taking the lead in Fort Collins. In fact, LEED construction, buildings that are certified by the U.S. Green Building Council for upholding Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), are popping up all over our beautiful city. A precept of the LEED program, is that buildings receive credit for reducing impacts on water and ecosystems resources, improving energy efficiency, and recycling building materials and reducing waste, among other categories.
There are many cities across the US with a huge carbon footprint. Proudly, Fort Collins sports a small carbon footprint, by comparison. To date, Fort Collins boasts having the most square feet of certified LEED projects per capita, ranking it No. 1 in Northern Colorado.
Seasoned projects include several CSU buildings, inclusive of some residence halls, The Innosphere, and Fossil Ridge High School. An innovation incubator from the start, the Innosphere building, located on Vine Avenue, was a pioneer in Fort Collins’ LEED movement. Built with recycled materials, and a keen eye to sustainable design, it is beautiful and environmentally conscious. CSU’s newest residence halls in Laurel Village were also designed and constructed with energy and the environment in mind. In fact, The Pavilion, located in the center of the Laurel Village, is the first building at CSU to be certified LEED PLATINUM new construction by the United States Green Building Council. The Pavilion features a passive ventilation system called a katabatic tower, which is a green slope to reduce heat island effect, an interior green wall, recycled and regional materials, and even a bike room to further promote a decrease in a carbon footprint.
There is also new development within the LEED program: The Trails at Timberline is an example of synergizing form and function while keeping an eagle-eye on the need to reduce environmental impact. Aside from being certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, the apartment complex boasts eight different floor plans ranging from studios, to a spacious 3 bedroom, 2 bath luxury apartment.
How can you take a ‘LEED’ approach and be an energy preserving innovator in your home? A few tips:
You may not have a home certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, but you can still minimize your carbon footprint and maximize your energy use.
- Utilize a power management system (like Nest or similar). You can have your home outfitted with the latest and greatest green tech around (i.e., programmable thermostats, smoke detectors, etc.).
- Did you know, according to the US Department of Energy, “75% of the electrical use by home electronics occurs when they’re turned off”? Wowzers. That’s a lot of unnecessary juice being utilized, and paid for. Turn off your electronics and UNPLUG them when not in use.
- Use CFL or LED lightbulbs. These energy-saving bulbs use only a fraction of the electricity of their incandescent counterparts.
- Air dry your dishes. The heated drying cycle of your dishwasher uses a tremendous amount of power. And, when you unload, you won’t burn your fingers on the pots and pans.
- Turn off your computer when you're not using it. Computers literally suck the energy out of the socket, and your pocket.
- Purchase energy efficient appliances, and pay attention to the energy efficiency ratings. A more expensive and energy efficient purchase will reap rewards in the long run.
- Grab a new showerhead and give up those costly baths. Showers use MUCH less water than a bath (provided you keep it to a reasonable length!) Less water means less energy to heat the water -- unless you enjoy cold showers, that is!
- Stop scalding yourself and burning your wallet by setting your hot water heater to a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.