Published: Dec. 12, 2017
Aerial of Athletics buildings with solar panels

Three CU Boulder buildings that were part of the recent Athletics facilities upgrades, including the net-zero-energy Indoor Practice Facility, have been awarded LEED Platinum status by the United States Green Building Council.

The 212,000-square-foot Champions Center, the 109,000-square-foot Indoor Practice Facility (IPF) and extensive renovations to the Dal Ward Athletic Center were all included in the Athletic Department project, which was completed in 2016. The latest LEED recognition brings to 25 the total number of CU Boulder buildings certified LEED Gold or better, including 10 LEED Platinum, either for new construction or major renovations.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a globally recognized symbol of excellence in green building, with certification ensuring electricity cost savings, lower carbon emissions and healthy work environments. There are four levels of certification, with Platinum being the highest.

The latest LEED recognition brings to 25 the total number of CU Boulder buildings certified LEED Gold or better, including 10 LEED Platinum, either for new construction or major renovations.

“Achieving LEED Platinum for a project of this magnitude is a testament to the work and collaboration of several campus departments and partners,” said CU Boulder Vice Chancellor for Infrastructure and Safety David Kang. “Athletics has been a key driver of campus efforts to be a leader in sustainability, and this project is a shining example of that.”

Construction of the Champions Center provided a new home for CU Athletics administration, the football program, Olympic sports, the CU Sports Medicine and Performance Center and the Champions Club. The climate-controlled IPF includes a full football field and a six-lane, 300-meter track that is utilized by nearly every sport. The Dal Ward upgrades, meanwhile, included locker rooms and a new weight room for CU Olympic Sports, new spaces for the Herbst Academic Center and the Touchdown Club Room. The Champions Center and Dal Ward construction also included the addition of a pair of premium seating areas at Folsom Field.

“These state-of-the-art facilities have proven transformational to the success of our Athletic Department,” said CU Boulder Athletic Director Rick George. “We’re proud that sustainability was at the forefront in the way they were built and how we use them every day.”

The signature sustainability feature of the project is the 850-kilowatt solar array that sits atop the IPF and boasts an estimated annual production of just more than 1 million kilowatt hours per year. All of the energy use of the IPF—and 28 percent of the overall usage by the Athletics facilities upgrades—is offset by the array.

Other key sustainability features of the Athletics project included ample daylighting in the Champions Center and IPF, reduced water use through fixture selection, mechanical and lighting systems controls that enable optimization of energy, heating and cooling systems, and a new stormwater detention pond at the corner of Folsom Street and Stadium Drive that provides natural filtration of stormwater from the site.

Noresco provided sustainability consulting services to CU Boulder to ensure that sustainability goals of the Athletics facilities project were achieved, and Mortenson and Populous teamed to provide design-build services.

“At Noresco, we are honored to be part of such a forward thinking and best-in-class project that started with the end in mind: high- performance building goals with a commitment to achieving these goals through an integrated design and construction process,” said Sarah Spencer-Workman, sustainability services manager at Noresco. “The result is an advanced facility that demonstrates new best practices in sustainability while furthering the university’s long-term commitments to reductions in energy, waste and water.”

CU’s Athletic Department has long been a champion of sustainability. Ralphie’s Green Stampede was the nation’s first NCAA Division-I sports sustainability program, and Folsom Field was the nation’s first zero-waste collegiate stadium. All events held at both Folsom Field and the Coors Events Center are now zero-waste events.