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

Green Building Success in Albuquerque & Santa Fe, New Mexico (3 Examples of Sustainable Construction at Work)

New Mexico is home to some noteworthy green building projects that combine sustainability with style and affordability.

In cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe, we’ve worked with developers and contractors who have embraced the challenge of creating buildings that are not only environmentally friendly but also meet the needs of the local community.

In this blog post, we will explore three successful green building projects in New Mexico, showcasing their unique features and the challenges they overcame to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Platinum Apartments in Albuquerque: The Best of Luxury and Sustainability

Platinum Apartments, Albuquerque New Mexico

Located at 4100 Silver Ave SE, Albuquerque, the Platinum Luxury Apartments are a prime example of luxury and sustainability coming together. This four-story apartment building features 75 units, including a Yoga/Pilates studio and a community pool table room. The rooftop also boasts a BBQ/Bar area for residents to enjoy.

The project’s design aimed to attract young professionals who value both luxury and sustainability. Through a highly insulated envelope, mini-split HVAC, and a small PV array, the Platinum Apartments achieved an impressive HERS rating of 59. Green Insight’s scope of work included LEED for Homes credit verification, testing during construction, energy efficiency recommendations, and more.

Despite the challenge of a target budget of $110 per square foot, the development team found cost-effective solutions. They used a wood-framed structure with insulation/sheathing similar to what would now be known as a ZIP wall, mini-splits, on-demand water heaters, and a small PV system to power the common areas. The results were remarkable: LEED Platinum Certification, along with tax credits and rebates from various entities.

Villa Alegre Apartments: A Green Oasis in the Heart of Santa Fe

Villa Alegre Apartments Santa Fe New Mexico

Villa Alegre Apartments, constructed by Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority, reflects the city’s commitment to creating beautiful homes and luxury living experiences while lessening the carbon footprint during construction and beyond. With a goal to create a sustainable project with a minimal environmental footprint, all stakeholders had a common goal: to create a sustainable building project with the smallest possible environmental footprint.

The project consists of 111 LEED® for Homes Platinum units, providing affordable housing for families and seniors in Santa Fe. To achieve this goal, Villa Alegre Apartments had to overcome several challenges. However, the project focuses on energy and water efficiency by incorporating a geothermal exchange system, a 240-kilowatt photovoltaic system, ENERGY STAR windows, high-efficiency lighting fixtures, and blown insulation.

Villa Alegre Apartments’ upgrades resulted in all units achieving a 32 or better Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score and ENERGY STAR qualification. These achievements go beyond sustainability. The public supported it, and the project rehabilitated the downtown Santa Fe area while exceeding the 2030 Challenge.

Villa Alegre Apartments in Santa Fe, a pioneering project, showcases the value of LEED certification in creating truly green and sustainable projects. From affordable housing to a luxury living experience, this project is a testament to the city’s commitment to sustainability.

Hotel Clovis: A Unique Adaptive Reuse Project in Clovis, New Mexico

Hotel Clovis, Clovis, New Mexico

Located at 201 N Main St in Clovis, New Mexico, Hotel Clovis is an exceptional example of an adaptive reuse project that combines historic preservation with sustainable design. This 9-story historic registered hotel has been transformed into an affordable housing project, featuring rental lofts and commercial space. The project faced challenges due to environmental degradation and historic registration, but innovative solutions were implemented to overcome these obstacles.

The Hotel Clovis project stands out for its unique style and commitment to historic preservation. The building, originally constructed in 1929, was at risk of demolition before Tierra Realty Trust acquired the development rights. Closed-cell insulation was added to the envelope without altering its historic character. Trickle vents for unit ventilation were incorporated into the windows, and a whole-building ventilation system was installed. Nanogel was also added to the plaster in the historic ballroom to achieve required insulation levels.

Hotel Clovis prioritized sustainability and energy efficiency, earning it LEED Platinum certification. A photovoltaic system was installed on the roof, generating electricity to power the hotel’s common spaces and the new buildings. Additionally, the project incorporated passive solar orientation in 80% of the units to leverage natural heating and lighting.

The successful transformation of Hotel Clovis into a LEED Platinum affordable housing project showcases the value of adaptive reuse and historic preservation. It serves as a shining example for future projects, combining sustainability and style in a unique and memorable way.

Green Building Success in New Mexico

These three green building projects in New Mexico showcase the incredible success and innovation that can be achieved in sustainable construction. From luxury apartments in Albuquerque to affordable housing in Santa Fe and adaptive reuse in Clovis, each project overcame unique challenges to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Not only have these buildings contributed to the development of a greener New Mexico, but they have also set inspiring examples for future sustainable construction projects across the state.

Want to find the perfect solution for your sustainable living 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

Completely Renovated Corry Village for Graduate Students and Families Earns LEED Platinum Certification

The third largest university in the state, the University of Florida, makes up much of the population of Gainesville, Florida. With nearly 57,000 students, the University of Florida was ranked by U.S. News and World Reports as the fifth best public university in the United States.

Among its students, U of F also hosts nearly 16,000 postgraduate students in one of their 123 master’s programs or 73 doctoral programs. Postgraduate students not only have different needs academically, but they also have different needs when it comes to student housing. Postgraduate students are older than the average college student, and many are married with families as they pursue an advanced degree.

Project Details

Corry Village is graduate student housing located in the heart of the University of Florida’s campus. These buildings needed rehabilitation, and the University of Florida worked with contractor Gray Construction to create student housing that was not only functional and comfortable but environmentally responsible as well.

Green Insight was brought in to consult with all parties on how to achieve the goal of becoming LEED for Homes Platinum certified. The entire project consisted of an entire gut rehab of 128 units in 8 buildings.

Project Challenges

Since this project was an entire gut rehab of the existing building, it goes without saying that it posed a few major challenges along the way.

The brick structure of the units combined with the hot and humid climate in Gainesville presented challenges when it came to thermal bypass and ventilation. Corry Village is also centrally located on the sprawling U of F campus meaning there were also challenges for onsite water management that aren’t usually dealt with in projects like this.

Finally, the project needed to be phased with a multiple-year gap between building certifications. Therefore, the team that was present during the first phase wasn’t the same team that was there for the second phase.

Solutions

Luckily, the heat and humidity are something we are used to working with. With many years of experience working in Florida and the Caribbean, we could offer sensible solutions for air sealing and insulation that would meet and exceed the needs of the building in this type of climate. These solutions included moving from an exhaust-only ventilation system to more balanced ventilation with an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) System, and guiding the construction team on various air sealing and insulation systems. This approach ensured that the project would be long-lasting and durable through the years.

To combat the issue of changing teams throughout the course of the project, onboarding new team members to the project was made more thorough and intentional to ensure continuity no matter who was at the helm. We also utilized a Green Rater/HERS Rater who was familiar with the location of the project to assist with a smooth transition between teams before the completion of the project.

Results

Despite the challenges of this project including the unique challenge of keeping two separate teams up to speed on the same project, Green Insight was able to leverage their expertise in environmentally responsible building even in a climate that can pose its own challenges.

The new housing project now boasts state-of-the-art renovated housing units as well as communal study rooms, a playground for families, and recreational space with basketball and volleyball courts and barbeque areas.

Due to our collaboration, Corry Village at the University of Florida achieved LEED Platinum Certification.

Do you want to learn how Green Insight can find the perfect solution for your green building project?

Get in touch today. We would love to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you achieve green building success. Let’s start the process

Hotel Clovis Earns LEED for Homes Platinum Certification

The city of Clovis, New Mexico sits just 9 miles west of the border of Texas and is called home to almost 40,000 people. A large agricultural community, Clovis is surrounded by large peanut and cotton farms as well as busy cattle ranches.

At the city’s heart sits the Art Deco gem, the Hotel Clovis. Built in 1931, this 10-story former hotel earned the distinction of being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.  Its hospitality days long over, Hotel Clovis is now used as both a residential and commercial piece of real estate.

Project Details

Hotel Clovis now boasts 31 rental lofts and 8,000 square feet of commercial space. Two new buildings have been added to its ranks to increase Hotel Clovis to half a city block while providing an additional 28 dwelling units.

During the renovation of this historic building, Green Insight was brought in to consult with developers and contractors to create a state-of-the-art environmentally responsible project while maintaining the building’s historic charm.

We worked with developer Tierra Realty Trust and contractor Century Communities II to help the team:

  • Earn LEED for Homes credit
  • Test during construction
  • Pass quality assurance review
  • Make energy-efficient recommendations
  • Make building material assessments
  • Review construction documents and specifics
  • Review all project submittals

Project Challenges

Before Tierra Realty Trust acquired development rights for the building, the city of Clovis had slated to demolish the historic building due to findings that rehabilitation of the building would be cost prohibitive to the city.

With its proven track record of successfully turning historic buildings into sustainable housing communities, Tierra Realty Trust acquired the rights after numerous other developers looked at rehabilitation over the course of many years, but it ultimately backed away from the challenges the building posed.

One of the biggest challenges the developer faced was air infiltration through the building’s envelope, which could not be modified in any way due to its historically registered status. An additional challenge was meeting the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standard 62.2 which governs indoor air quality, and ventilation specifically.

Project Solutions

To combat the building envelope issue, Green Insight recommended adding interior closed-cell insulation to the block and brick veneer exterior walls. Nano gel was added to the plaster on the first floor and the grand historic ballroom to increase the insulation level as high as possible while maintaining historic finishes. To meet ventilation standards, they added trickle vents cut into the window and the whole building’s ventilation system was plumbed to very high-efficiency variable speed exhaust fans which also maintained the historic exterior.

To ensure sustainability in the building, a 35kW photovoltaic system was installed on the roof of all of the newly constructed buildings to power the common spaces and new buildings at Hotel Clovis. In all, 80% of the units in these new buildings have a passive solar orientation.

Project Results

By collaborating with Green Insight, developers and contractors were able to meet and exceed their goals of sustainable energy while maintaining the building’s historical integrity. This collaboration resulted in:

  • LEED for Homes Platinum Certification
  • A New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit of $525,825
  • A Historic Preservation Tax Credit of $118,248

Ultimately, the vision and work of all teams resulted in the successful adaptive reuse of a depression-era hotel that was slated to be demolished. It now stands as a model of sustainability with historic charm right in the heart of Clovis.

Ready to see how Green Insight can find the best solution for your green building project?

Get in touch with us today so we can discuss your project and goals while showing you how we can help you achieve green building success. Get in touch

La Pradera Earns LEED for Homes Platinum Certification in Hobbs, NM

Hobbs, New Mexico has a rich multicultural history boasting true cowboy legends, long-held farming traditions, and rich Hispanic culture. Known for its blue skies and breathtaking sunsets, Hobbs truly represents the very best of what the high desert can offer.

One more thing that Hobbs can now boast of is a commitment to sustainable green construction in the form of the La Pradera multi-family housing project. This affordable housing complex is certified LEED for Homes Platinum and represents Hobbs’ efforts to bring its rich heritage into the 21st century.

The Project

The La Pradera housing project consists of 8 multi-family buildings for a total of 60 affordable housing units. The complex also contains a community building and a daycare center.

Green Insight was brought in by Tierra Realty Trust, the project’s developer, to work alongside developers and the project’s contractor, Century Construction. Green Insight worked with all parties on:

  • Green goal facilitation
  • Facilitating charrettes
  • LEED for Homes credit verification and testing during the construction process
  • Quality assurance review
  • Energy modeling
  • Building material assessments
  • Review of specifications
  • Construction documents
  • Project submittals

Developers and contractors teamed with Green Insight to reach all of their sustainable building goals and to create a modern multi-story housing complex that was designed to meet a HERS index of 59 while meeting all criteria to qualify for the New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit.

Stephen Crozier, president of Tierra Realty Trust, isn’t new to green building nor developing projects that meet LEED for Homes certification. Crozier states, “I have been building green since I formed Tierra Realty Trust in 1997, and each year with each new project, we have tried to make each project greener than the previous. LEED is a natural extension of our company’s business ethic.”

Challenges

The developer’s main goal was to develop a building that was modern and was constructed to achieve a HERS rating of 60 or better and LEED for Homes certification in order to qualify for the New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit. One major challenge from the beginning was that the site secured for the project was in a rural setting.

Another challenge was working with a general contractor who didn’t have experience in building green. Additionally, the area offered only a limited subcontractor base that was also limited in green building experience.

Green Insight was then brought in to work side by side with all parties to ensure the project was both high quality while still meeting the developer’s goals.

Solutions

Even the site for the complex was chosen with environmental concerns in mind. Found within walking distance of public schools, shops, open spaces, and other conveniences, La Pradera’s location reduces or eliminates the need for a car and thus the environmental impact a car can have. It’s also located within half a mile of over 14 community services and schools which reduces the number and length of daily trips residents need to make to access needs of daily living.

Contractors also contributed to the sustainability goal through the use of environmentally responsible building materials. The exterior of the building was completely made of insulated concrete forms (ICF) and the modular layout meant there was almost no waste in the exterior wall system. The concrete walls, footings, insulation, and numerous other materials contained recycled content. Paint, adhesives, and sealants were all made of low volatile organic compounds to promote high indoor air quality and better health for builders and inhabitants alike.

Results

Green Insight was able to work with developers and contractors to create a finished product that not only met the developers’ goals for sustainability but exceeded them. All together, the finished La Pradera housing complex earned:

Additionally, La Pradera also met green milestones such as:

  • 73.5% savings in interior water use
  • Plants that are 100% drought tolerant
  • Vegetative or impermeable surfaces directed to infiltration are used in 73% of the site

La Pradera is truly a model for future green building projects looking to meet specific goals of sustainability.

Do you want to learn how Green Insight can find the perfect solution for your green building project?

Get in touch today. We would love to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you achieve green building success. Let’s start the process