The Economic Benefits of Green Building in Colorado: Case Studies and Statistics

Green building practices have been gaining popularity in Colorado for their environmental benefits, but they also offer significant economic benefits. 

Green building practices in Colorado are cost-effective for several reasons:

  1. Energy savings: Green buildings are designed to be energy-efficient, which means they use less energy for heating, cooling, and lighting. This results in lower energy bills for building owners and tenants, leading to significant cost savings over time.
  2. Water savings: Green buildings are also designed to conserve water, which is particularly important in Colorado where water is a scarce resource. By using water-efficient fixtures and landscaping practices, green buildings can reduce water consumption and lower water bills.
  3. Improved indoor air quality: Green buildings are designed to promote better indoor air quality, which can lead to improved health and productivity for occupants. This can result in lower healthcare costs and increased productivity, which are both economic benefits.
  4. Increased property values: Green buildings often have higher property values than traditional buildings, as they are considered to be more desirable and sustainable. This can result in higher rental or resale prices, leading to increased revenue for building owners.
  5. Government incentives! In Colorado, green building projects can benefit from several government incentives, including those provided by the Inflation Reduction Act. These incentives include the 179D tax deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings, the 45L tax credit for energy-efficient single-family or multifamily properties, and the 25C tax credit for energy-efficient home improvements. These incentives can help offset the upfront costs of green building practices, making them more cost-effective in the long run. Additionally, they can provide significant tax savings for building owners and developers, further increasing the economic benefits of green building in Colorado. 

Green building practices in Colorado offer a range of economic benefits, including cost savings from energy and water efficiency, increased property values, improved indoor air quality, and government incentives. These benefits make green building a smart and cost-effective choice for builders, developers, and building owners in Colorado.

Not to mention that green buildings benefit the environment in several ways. They are designed to be energy-efficient, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps combat climate change. 

They also conserve water and promote sustainable landscaping practices, which help preserve water resources and protect natural habitats. Green buildings are often constructed with environmentally friendly materials and promote recycling and waste reduction, which reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills. Overall, green buildings help reduce the negative impact of human activity on the environment, making them a critical component of sustainable development.

Let’s explore a few case studies in Denver and Fort Collins that demonstrate the economic benefits of green building in Colorado.

Green Building in Colorado Case Study 1: Denver Housing Authority’s Mariposa Redevelopment Project

Green Building in Colorado: Denver Housing Authority's Mariposa Redevelopment Project
Mariposa Redevelopment Project, Denver, CO

The Mariposa Redevelopment Project is a master-planned development that includes transit-oriented mixed-income housing, senior housing, retail spaces, and outdoor areas such as playgrounds and gardens. Key drivers of the project were planetary health, ecosystem health, and sustainability.

In terms of planetary health, Mariposa incorporates integrated district-level energy strategies that aim to conserve resources and generate renewable energy on-site. The buildings are designed with high-performance envelopes and adhere to ENERGY STAR building standards. 

Additionally, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems reduce energy consumption by 40%, benefiting residents and the Denver Housing Authority.

To further promote sustainability, the Mariposa project’s two-megawatt photovoltaic solar panel system may offset up to 80% of the projected energy needs, significantly reducing reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

Regarding ecosystem health, the project prioritizes accessibility to public transportation and aims to improve pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. The goals are to reduce reliance on personal vehicles and encourage active modes of transportation.

Mariposa is a sustainable development that prioritizes planetary and ecosystem health. By implementing energy-efficient technologies and promoting alternative modes of transportation, it aims to create a green and environmentally friendly community for its residents.

Case Study 2: Colorado State University’s LEED Platinum Buildings

Green Building in Colorado: CSU's LEED Platinum buildings
The Pavilion at Laurel Village, Colorado State University

Colorado State University (CSU) is committed to sustainable building practices, as evidenced by CSU’s LEED Platinum Buildings. These buildings showcase CSU’s dedication to creating environmentally friendly structures prioritizing energy efficiency, water conservation, and indoor air quality.

One of CSU’s notable LEED Platinum buildings is the Laurel Village Pavilion. This building has achieved the highest level of LEED certification and is a shining example of sustainable design. 

Another LEED Gold building at CSU is the Laurel Village Piñon Hall, demonstrating the university’s commitment to environmentally responsible construction.

Summit Hall has made history at CSU by becoming the first building to achieve LEED certification for existing buildings and operation maintenance. Certification was earned from eco-friendly practices, including the purchase of e-clothes to reduce chemical usage in cleaning, a green purchasing policy, and green cleaning training for staff. 

Summit is powered by on-site and off-site renewable energy, and aerators reduce water consumption. Sustainable transportation is also encouraged with bicycle parking and alternative transportation options.

Laurel Village Alpine Hall is another LEED Gold building that showcases CSU’s sustainable building practices. This facility combines modern design with eco-friendly elements to create a space that promotes sustainability.

And the Durrell Center, another LEED Gold building at CSU, further reinforces the university’s commitment to green building practices. With its energy-efficient systems and sustainable materials, this building embodies CSU’s dedication to reducing its environmental impact.

These LEED-certified buildings bring numerous benefits to CSU and its community. By implementing green building practices, CSU achieves reduced energy and water usage, improved indoor air quality, and a smaller carbon footprint. Moreover, these sustainable buildings contribute to significant economic advantages, such as lower operating costs and increased property value.

CSU’s focus on sustainable building practices is evident through its LEED Platinum and Gold Buildings. These structures not only provide functional spaces but also prioritize environmental responsibility and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Case Study 3: Townhomes on Vine, Fort Collins

Green Building in Colorado: A picture of Townhomes on Vine in Fort Collins, CO
Townhomes on Vine, Fort Collins

We played an instrumental role in the development of the Townhomes on Vine project in Fort Collins, Colorado. The scope of work included LEED for Homes credit verification, testing during construction and QAD review, energy efficiency recommendations, building material assessments, and review of construction documents, specifications, and project submittals.

Despite the challenges presented by the unfamiliarity of the project team with the program requirements, our staff was able to coach the contractor through the required inspections, and by the end of construction, the LEED requirements were integrated into their procedures. Green Insight also introduced the project team to our Project Insight™ online platform for documenting compliance with all the LEED prerequisites and credits. This made the process of achieving LEED Gold certification more streamlined and efficient.

The Townhomes on Vine project serves as a testament to the effectiveness of our guidance in integrating green building practices cost-effectively and efficiently into green multi-unit construction projects. Our involvement was crucial in ensuring that the development met the rigorous standards required for LEED certification.

Our involvement in Townhomes on Vine was instrumental in achieving LEED Gold certification. We also helped streamline the certification process and ensure that the development met the rigorous standards required for LEED certification. 

The success of the project serves as a shining example of how to successfully build sustainable communities that benefit both the environment and the people who live in them.

Economic Benefits of Green Building in Colorado

Green building practices including proper insulation and air-sealing will increase year-round comfort, reduce energy consumption, and keep the Colorado climate at bay, but they contribute so much more. Green building practices in the state offer significant economic benefits in addition to their positive impact on the environment. 

From the Mariposa Redevelopment Project in Denver to the LEED Platinum buildings at Colorado State University and Townhomes on Vine in Fort Collins, our case studies demonstrate the cost savings associated with green multifamily and green home construction in the state.

Sustainable building practices are not only good for the environment but also profitable, cost-effective, and good for the economy. And statistics show that green building practices have created jobs in Colorado and throughout the U.S. 

By prioritizing people’s health and well-being through the use of eco-friendly materials, improved air quality, and energy-efficient systems, green homes and multi-unit green buildings are becoming increasingly popular. 

With the state of Colorado offering a range of incentives and rebates for green building practices, builders and developers can create sustainable and economically viable buildings that benefit both the environment and the local economy.

Want to find the perfect solution for your green building project?

If so, contact us today. We would love to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you achieve green building success. Get in touch

Border Patrol’s Presidio Housing Development Earns LEED for Homes Gold Certification

Presidio, Texas is a town steeped in history. Established in the 17th century but settled as early as 1500 B.C. Presidio is now home to just under 4,000 people.

This colorful and historic section of Texas lies right on the Rio Grande River, just across the border from Ojinaga, Mexico, and boasts some of the darkest skies in Texas making it a dream for stargazers. While along the river, it is considered desert land as part of the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas.

The Project

Because of its proximity to the Mexican border, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a large employer in the area. However, due to the smallness of the town of Presidio, housing those border protection officers and their families is a challenge.

Green Insight was brought in to consult on ways to keep design and construction both green and functional on a solution to the housing shortage: a housing project funded by the federal government consisting of 26 single-family attached homes and one single-family detached home for U.S. Border Patrol employees.

Working with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol design team and W.H. Pacific contractors, we were able to come up with unique solutions to their housing issues while keeping the project green and sustainable.

Project Challenges

The biggest challenge facing the project was a logistical one. While it can boast the darkest skies and best star watching in West Texas, its remote location doesn’t help when it comes to coordinating all the moving parts of a building project.

Located 8 hours by car from our offices, coordinating the construction team with our consulting duties required substantial planning to keep the project on schedule and within budget.

Additionally, the arid desert climate posed its fair share of challenges. Part of our work together was ensuring interior comfort and adequate yet responsible water usage.

Solutions

To properly coordinate schedules with all parties, strong communication was an absolute must. That meant clear communication prior to our site visits to give crews ample time to make sure everything was ready for all inspections along the way and that all-important final inspection. We also needed to coordinate efforts to ensure all units were complete and ready for final testing.

Our meticulous attention to coordinating all parties paid off. Green Insight was able to successfully certify all 27 homes with a higher status than their original goal of Silver certification.

To combat the environmental challenges, the project utilized a stout building envelope with roof assembly insulation over R40 and walls of R22. These factors help ensure both occupant comfort in the units as well as energy efficiency.

Contractors were also able to strategically plan their planting choices to create landscaping that was both suited for the dry desert heat and didn’t require a lot of water usage.

Results

Through Green Insight’s collaboration with both U.S. Border and Customs Patrol and W.H. Pacific contractors, the Presidio Border Patrol housing development earned:

After completion, the Presidio housing development became a model in sustainability as a piece of the 27 acre site that features both housing and landscaped common spaces.

Looking for a stress-free path to your green building project? The Green Insight team will help you find the best solution.

Get in touch with us todayWe’ll discuss your project and goals while showing you how we can help you achieve green building success!

Lukachukai Community School Will Open With LEED Certification

The brand new Lukachukai Community School will open on a 44-acre site nestled in the beautiful Chuska mountain range of Lukachukai, Arizona. This K-8 school will feature a student dormitory, bus maintenance facility, community fire station, and staff housing to help retain talented teachers.

The new school will accommodate 400 students with a mission to provide a solid comprehensive curriculum, enrichment, and support for all learners including accelerated learners, English language learners, and students with disabilities.

The Project

With a mission to not only reflect but respect the culture of the Navajo people, DPS Architecture worked thoroughly within the guidelines of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to ensure the design, materials, and sustainability of the new school were never in question.

School board members, school staff, and cultural experts collaborated with the design team on the site location, layout, and inter-relationship of the building’s facilities to ensure the building met the goals of all stakeholders.

The design team at DPS worked with Nez FCI for the construction of the project. This Navaho-owned construction company hired over 400 workers for the project, 90% of which were members of the Navajo Nation.

Work on the project began in January 2020 and is expected to be completed in summer 2022 in time for the 2022-2023 school year.

The Finished Product

The completed project will not only be a school building, but it will be a complex to serve both school and community needs. The project comes complete with multiple age-appropriate play areas to serve the wide developmental ranges of its students.

The entire complex is both student and community-minded in its design. The complex will feature several multipurpose athletic fields that will serve not only the school but the community at large.

The complex also features 19 staff housing units to help with the retention of teachers as well as a maintenance facility for school buses to take care of immediate repairs. The complex will also house a firetruck facility which will assist the community in emergency response situations.

This state-of-the-art facility was also designed and built with sustainability in mind. As such, the Lukachukai Community School will open for the new school year with LEED Gold certification. In all, the new school complex will give the Navajo nation a 21st-century learning environment that strives to respect the past.

Do you want to see how the Green Insight team can find the perfect solution for your sustainable living project?

If so, contact us today. One of our team members will be in touch to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you with both.

Green Building Excellence in Fort Collins, CO: LEED Gold Certified Project

The city of Fort Collins is often recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative cities in everything from technology to target industries. One of the areas of innovation where Fort Collins is most committed is in green building and residential code compliance.

When it comes to green building in Fort Collins, the city is focused on designing and constructing buildings that have an eye on modern needs while keeping an eye on the future by reducing the environmental impact that every aspect of a building will have. According to the city of Fort Collins, “A well-designed building should create a healthy, productive environment for its occupants while lessening the demand for energy and resources.”

Fort Collins builders take their commitment to the environment seriously, and so do we. In this article, we will discuss a recent project we were involved in that created townhomes that were good for residents and good for the environment: Townhomes on Vine.

Project Details (successful green building in Fort Collins)

The Townhomes on Vine project consisted of building 49 market-rate townhomes that would provide all the modern amenities homeowners are looking for while still maintaining a commitment to reducing the environmental impact of building them.

These townhomes were the first of two phases of development for this property by developer Old Town Construction, Inc. The second phase will consist of detached single-family homes.

Green Insight worked with developers to make this project LEED® for Homes Gold. Our involvement included:

  • LEED for Homes credit verification
  • Testing during construction and QAD review
  • Energy efficiency recommendations
  • Building material assessments
  • Review of construction documents
  • Specifications and review of project submittals

By partnering with us, Old Town Construction, Inc. had assistance every step of the way to ensure their project qualified for LEED for Homes Gold.

Project Challenges

As with any Colorado construction project, there are challenges that need to be addressed along the way. Successful green building in Fort Collins is certainly not the exception.

For this project, one of our challenges (and a challenge we encounter in most developers’ and/or contractors’ first certification) is general unfamiliarity with the program requirements to become LEED for Homes certified.

One thing in this developer’s favor was that Fort Collins residential codes are so strict that following them gets a project pretty close to LEED for Homes Silver level certification on their own. For this project, a few modifications were made to help meet the LEED prerequisites at a low additional cost.

The learning curve when it comes to requirements is a common challenge with green building projects like this. This is especially true if the developer doesn’t provide product submittals or schedule extra inspections with a partner well-versed in LEED prerequisites.

Project Solutions

It took some initial inspections for all stakeholders to be comfortable with the LEED requirements, but our field staff was able to coach the developer through all of them. By the end of the construction, the LEED requirements were just part of regular procedures.

The developer’s team was also onboarded on the use of Green Insight’s online platform Project Insight™, an invaluable tool when it comes to documenting compliance with all the LEED prerequisites and credits.

With these regular inspections and use of Project Insight, the Townhomes on Vine project reached its goal of becoming LEED for Homes Gold Certified and all townhomes have already been pre-sold.

With the successful completion of Phase 1, we anticipate Phase 2 to be even more streamlined and successful.

The Finished Product

The Townhomes on Vine are not the drafty, energy-wasting townhomes that have been on the market for decades. These townhomes have an ENERGY STAR rating of over 80 and HERS scores in the low 50s. What do these scores mean, exactly? These townhomes are quite a bit more energy efficient than the average resale home on the market – they have an average annual utility savings of around $900 per townhome compared to the average home in the U.S.

How was this accomplished? For starters, the insulation and construction techniques used in these townhomes were vastly improved from techniques used only a decade ago. These techniques and their results not only create a more environmentally friendly construction process, but also save the homeowner money in the long run.

By being LEED Gold Certified, these townhomes not only boast the best in modern construction techniques, but the use of tankless hot water heaters, energy-efficient furnaces, and LED lighting just confirms our commitment to building modern homes with an emphasis on reducing environmental impact for the long run.

Partner with Green Insight for successful green building in Fort Collins, CO!

If you’re a developer or contractor, you have enough on your plate logistically without adding the robust requirements needed to earn any green building certification. Partnering with Green Insight gives you the know-how when it comes to codes in Fort Collins and beyond.

Green Insight can also help you develop practices that embed practices that will make the entire certification process streamlined.

If you’re ready to talk to one of our team about how we can help you build green, contact us today to discuss your project and your goals.