Colorado State University professor named LEED Fellow, highest honor of Green Building Certification Institute

Brian Dunbar, a professor emeritus at Colorado State University and executive director of CSU’s Institute for the Built Environment — also known as IBE, was recently honored with being named a LEED Fellow, the highest award from Green Building Certification Institute.

“Brian is a true green-building pioneer,” said Dana Villeneuve, who worked with Dunbar as an intern at IBE. “He has contributed a great deal to the green building movement, and the honor of being elected a LEED Fellow is well-deserved.”

The LEED Fellow is the third and final tier to the LEED Professional Exams, which serve as a mark of competence and esteemed qualification. Newly added in 2010, this tier was created to recognize those who have served 10 plus years of exemplary work in green-build practices.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for the green building teaching and community service-learning projects our institute has assisted with. I’m fortunate to be part of Colorado State and its land grant mission which values applied research allowed me to ‘practice what we teach,’ right alongside with leading green architects, engineers and builders," Dunbar said.

Dunbar’s talent and excellence came from his family, and that is essentially what first interested him.

“My father and grandfather were architects in Michigan. I loved to tour their buildings and I loved to learn to draw, especially buildings,” Dunbar said.
Buildings were a love, but also from an early start he was interested in clean buildings, he said. He wrote a term paper about energy crisis and the need for solar energy in high school and while in college at the University of Michigan he focused on alternative energy in buildings.

“I have asthma, so am highly sensitive to healthy buildings and environments,” Dunbar said.

After earning two architecture degrees from the University of Michigan, he has since become a mentor to many, co-authored a book, “147 Tips on Teaching Sustainability,” and has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects, the U.S. Green Building Council-Colorado Chapter, the Colorado governor and the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado.

As the executive director of the IBE, Dunbar has been an influential resource for many CSU students and Northern Colorado in general, developing programs like Living Environments in Natural, Social & Economic Systems or LENSES, green schools and facilitating several charrettes to fulfill IBE’s goal of partnering for a regenerative future.

“He has quite literally educated thousands of people about the importance of building sustainably. He has served as a mentor to many undergraduate and graduate students, inspiring them to move on to careers of their own in the green building industry,” Villeneuve said.

Dunbar has done this by adopting the idea of an integrated approach, the focus of the GBCI’s LEED Rating System.

Villeneuve describes this rating system as “a more collaborative, team-effort approach to design in which everyone’s opinion is equally valued, from the principal of the architecture firm to the janitor in charge of cleaning the floors.”
This system was initiated and implemented by IBE at Fort Collin’s Fossil Ridge High School, the new edition to CSU’s Rockwell Hall (west), The Rocky Mountain Innosphere and many more buildings.

“Dunbar is a visionary leader, he always has an optimistic outlook in regards to sustainability, and how we can accomplish it,” said Stephanie Barr, Green School Specialist.

“He is gentle and patient as well as encouraging in driving toward higher levels of achievement,” said Josie Plaut who wrote Dunbar’s nomination letter for the LEED Fellow and is director of projects at IBE.

The Institute for the Built Environment is in the College of Applied Human Sciences at CSU.