One building is new, LEED-certified and designed to maximize natural light. The other was built in the mid-1990s and has just undergone a fresh renovation. Together, they make up CU Boulder’s Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex (SEEC), the new, collaborative home for a wide range of environmental thinkers. SEEC houses classrooms, offices and latest-generation wet and dry laboratory space for use by researchers who were previously spread across campus and beyond. Faculty, students and scientists from partners like CU Boulder’s Center for the American West, environmental studies program, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) can now work together across traditional academic disciplines. While the cutting-edge building is secondary to the work done inside, the mix of old and new structures is fitting for a center focused on Earth’s future: Innovation is crucial, but practical solutions also require working with systems already in place.