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CU Boulder Earns 3 LEED Platinum Certifications for Athletic Facilities

School Construction News

Solar array on top of the athletic practice facility taken during 2016 aerial photography over Boulder and the CU Bouder campus. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

Solar array on top of the athletic practice facility taken during 2016 aerial photography over Boulder and the CU Boulder campus. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

BOULDER, Colo. — Three athletic buildings at the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU) were certified in fall 2017 with the highest possible LEED rating — LEED Platinum. With this latest certification by the USGBC, CU now has 25 buildings certified LEED Gold or better, either for new construction or major renovations.

The three buildings that were certified LEED Platinum include the 212,000-square-foot Champions Center, the 109,000-square-foot net-zero-energy Indoor Practice Facility (IPF) and extensive renovations done to the Dal Ward Athletic Center. All three of the athletic buildings were included in a CU athletic department facilities upgrade project that arrived at completion in 2016. All three buildings were LEED Platinum–certified by early December 2017, raising the total number of LEED Platinum buildings at CU to 10.

Completion of the new Champions Center brought a new home for CU athletics administration, the CU football program, Olympic sports, the CU Sports Medicine and Performance Center as well as the Champions Club. The IPF is a climate-controlled facility and includes a full football field as well as a six-lane, 300-meter track. Upgrades to the Dal Ward Athletic Center feature new locker rooms and a new weight room for CU Olympic sports, a new room for the Herbst Academic Center and the Touchdown Club room. The Champions Center as well as the Dal Ward construction also included the addition of a pair of premium seating areas at Folsom Field.

“Achieving LEED Platinum for a project of this magnitude is a testament to the work and collaboration of several campus departments and partners,” said David Kang, vice chancellor for infrastructure and safety at CU in a recent statement. “Athletics has been a key driver of campus efforts to be a leader in sustainability, and this project is a shining example of that.”

The three-buildings project was led by Denver-based Mortenson Construction and Populous — a Denver-based architecture firm — as a joint design-build venture. Noresco, an energy services company based in Boulder, Colo., provided sustainability consulting services on the project. Construction on the project began in 2014, with different aspects of the project opening in 2015 and 2016 before its final completion at the end of 2016.

The most noteworthy sustainability feature of the athletic facilities upgrade project is the 850-kilowatt solar array that sits atop the IPF, with an estimated annual production of more than 1 million kilowatt hours. All of the energy use of the IPF — including 28 percent of the overall usage by the Athletics facilities upgrades — is offset by the impressive solar array.

Read the full story here.

NHL Arena Achieves Canadian LEED First

Proud Green Building

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Rogers Place in Edmonton is the first NHL facility to achieve LEED silver certification in Canada. Photo courtesy of City of Edmonton.

Edmonton’s Rogers Place recently became the first National Hockey League (NHL) facility in Canada to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification, according to stadium officials.

Since opening in 2016, the home arena of the Edmonton Oilers has demonstrated efficient systems for lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation in building design.

“Designing and building a facility of this magnitude to meet rigorous green building standards is an ambitious undertaking, but one with the potential to have a positive impact on visitors, where they can see sustainability in action,” said Thomas Mueller, CEO of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). “This certification sets a strong example for other large venues in Canada that every building can achieve superior environmental performance.”

Edmonton recently introduced a sustainable building policy, mandating new building projects strive for LEED silver certification as a minimum requirement. All phases of design and construction of Rogers Place and its adjacent facilities were planned with that goal in mind and the arena achieved certification through the LEED goals of developmental density, community connectivity, and alternative transportation.

Read the full story here.

Green and LEED-Certified Stadium Design

Architectural Record

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Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Image Courtesy of AMB Group

Though it remains to be seen whether the Atlanta Falcons will meet expectations for the season, the National Football League team’s athletic facility has already earned the highest marks when it comes to being green. In mid-November 2017, the 2 million-square-foot Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta became the world’s first LEED Platinum–certified professional sports stadium.

Designed by HOK and home to the Falcons and the Atlanta United Major League Soccer (MLS) club, the stadium hosts 4,000 photo-voltaic (PV) panels, which should generate 1.6 million kilowatt hours per year—enough to power nine football games—and has enough electric vehicle connections to charge 48 cars at once. Among its many other green features, a 680,000-square-foot cistern can store 2 million gallons of rainwater, for both water-conservation and flood-control purposes. (The project sits at the top of the Proctor Creek watershed, just north of flood-prone downtown Atlanta.)

Video courtesy EarthCam

Worldwide, there are more than 30 LEED-certified sports venues, according to the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC), but with 88 LEED points of a possible 110—the most of any athletic facility to date, and notably earning all possible credits for water—the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the most impressive, and most recent, example of a growing trend. “Seven or eight years ago, we’d have to bring up the topic of sustainability with clients,” says architect Chris DeVolder, the sustainable design leader for HOK’s sports, recreation, and entertainment practice, who worked on the Atlanta stadium for almost four years. “Now we’re talking about it on every project.”

The Georgia venue completes a triumvirate of Platinum projects at different scales: in September 2016, the Sacramento King’s Golden 1 Center by AECOM became the first professional arena to earn Platinum, and five years before, in October 2011, the USGBC named Apogee Stadium by HKS, at the University of North Texas, the first Platinum collegiate football stadium in the nation.

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