Research Innovation Center on Colorado State University Foothills Campus Achieves LEED Gold Rating

Note to Reporters: Photos of the building are available with the news release at

The 60,000-square-foot Research Innovation Center located on Colorado State University’s Foothills Campus has earned Gold certification from the U. S. Green Building Council’s LEED program.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, benchmarks the sustainable efforts and features of buildings constructed in the United States. To reach a Gold rating, a building must achieve sufficient points based on sustainable standards such as responsibly managing construction waste, incorporating natural lighting and implementing energy-saving fixtures.

The Research Innovation Center, or RIC building, was funded by a $52 million bond issue. Constructed in 2010, the facility includes several Biosafety Level 2 labs supporting the university’s infectious disease research. Much of the building is occupied by independent entrepreneurs and researchers. The building also hosts a 7,700-square-foot vivarium operated by CSU’s Lab Animal Research department.

To construct the RIC building, the university’s Facilities Management department worked with The FWA Group, a leading architectural firm with an office in Fort Collins. CSU officials worked closely with architects to design an aesthetically pleasing and energy-efficient laboratory.

“The FWA Group was extremely fortunate to work with Colorado State University on their Research Innovation Center project,” said Randy Larsen, president of The FWA Group. “Early on, CSU showed a strong commitment to sustainable design, setting a significant goal of attaining LEED Gold certification for the building. This is especially noteworthy considering the high energy demands of research buildings. Their level of commitment combined with the achievement of this certification is a remarkable example of sustainable architecture that will provide a living and restorative environment for current and future users.”

The design of the RIC building incorporates solutions that increase energy performance of the building by lowering operating costs by 42 percent. Low-flow faucets and toilets reduced the building’s water use by 38 percent while planting native species cut irrigation water consumption by 90 percent. Low-emitting carpets and paints were used in the building to ensure a high standard of indoor air quality.

Additionally, the RIC building hosts a 54-kilowatt solar array which provides roughly 6 percent of the electrical load of the building. About 830 tons of construction waste generated by this project was either recycled or repurposed.