CU Boulder East District Energy Plant Earns LEED Gold Certification

December 27, 2017

The new East District Energy Plant (EDEP) at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) recently earned LEED Gold certification, the second-to-highest attainable LEED certification level. The project was certified through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) system. The RMH Group (RMH) served as the project’s mechanical/electrical engineer and LEED consultant, and LOA Architecture served as the project’s architect. Opened in 2014, the EDEP generates steam and chilled water for much of CU Boulder’s Main Campus and serves as the headquarters for the university’s Utility and Energy Services division.

By applying a variety of innovative technologies, the project team was able to realize a projected 41 percent water reduction and 25 percent energy cost savings compared with industry standards. To achieve this level of energy savings, a number of sustainable strategies were implemented including underfloor air distribution and energy recovery. In addition, 80 percent of construction materials was diverted from landfills, 20 percent of construction materials utilized recycled products and 20 percent of construction materials was sourced from within 500 miles of the site.

The EDEP building was constructed as part of an overall campus utility infrastructure upgrade for CU Boulder’s main campus. In addition to building the new EDEP, this overall project involved renovating CU Boulder’s historic Powerhouse (to become the West District Energy Plant or WDEP) and interconnecting the two plants (EDEP and WDEP) with new and upgraded distribution. The project satisfied CU Boulder’s objectives to safely and reliably meet the growing critical utility (chilled water, steam, electricity) needs on the main campus, all while staying within an established budget, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, conserving natural resources, minimizing impacts to campus activities and preserving the campus’ beauty.