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Sustainable Excellence Initiative
By: Casey Cass, University of Colorado
The Colorado volleyball and basketball practice facility opened for business in August 2011.
New Practice Facility Earns LEED Platinum Rating
Release: May 30, 2012
By: University Communications
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BOULDER - The University of Colorado Boulder’s volleyball and basketball practice facility has received a LEED platinum rating -- the highest designation -- from the United States Green Building Council.

It is the first LEED-certified athletic facility on the CU-Boulder campus and one of only two platinum-rated athletic facilities in the Pac-12. LEED certification is a U.S. benchmark for sustainable design and construction.

“Athletics is a great springboard for sustainability,” said Tom McGann, CU-Boulder associate athletic director. “We’re reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint not only because it’s better for the environment and minimizes the money spent on building operations, but also because we hope it has an impression on many people, from our athletes to students, faculty, staff and fans.”

The 44,000-square-foot practice facility, adjacent to the Coors Events Center, opened in August 2011 and houses two NCAA-regulation-size basketball courts. They are shared by the men’s and women’s basketball programs, as well as the women’s volleyball program. Other spaces in the building include a ticket booth, lobby, locker rooms and offices.

“This facility promotes the success of our student athletes and programs and provides an addition to the Coors Events Center that improves the structure’s architectural integration with the campus,” said Paul Leef, campus architect and director of the Planning, Design and Construction office. “It also expands our portfolio of high-performance facilities with a new building type and challenges like not being able to introduce a lot of windows for natural light. Still, we were able to achieve the highest LEED rating.”

The practice facility is estimated to be 40 percent more energy efficient and 30 percent more water efficient than recent buildings of similar size and function.

Its features include rooftop solar panels that are capable of providing 10 to 12 percent of the building’s electricity. The structure is cooled with an evaporative system that uses less energy than traditional mechanical systems. The facility also is outfitted with low-flow water fixtures, high-performance insulation and windows, efficient lighting, and lighting and heating controls that are key to optimizing energy savings.

“We have recently built sustainable and very energy-efficient academic, research, residential and dining spaces,” said Moe Tabrizi, campus sustainability director. “The athletic facility adds to the sustainability learning opportunities and experiences for our students throughout campus, no matter where they are.”

In other athletic-related initiatives, CU-Boulder hosts zero-waste football games as part of Ralphie’s Green Stampede. The program topped two leader boards in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 Game Day Challenge -- a national competition to eliminate waste generated at college football games.

In March, CU-Boulder announced that the student government had reduced the net emissions of greenhouse gases from its student-run facilities -- including the Student Recreation Center -- to zero.

For more information on CU-Boulder’s LEED-certified buildings visit:

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