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COTE Greenbag: Rocky Mountain Institute Case Study

July 25, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

$5 - $35
COTE Greenbag - Rocky Mountain Institute Case Study

The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) Innovation Center is a two-story, 15,610 square foot net zero energy building that integrates sustainable thinking with climate responsive design to provide office and collaboration space for RMI’s research as well as the White Steyer Impact Studio for seminars and conferences and outreach. ZGF was chosen as the design architect and a key member of the integrated project delivery (IDP) team to prove that what can be imagined is possible.

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The building is a prime example of a flexible and adaptable office building that integrates with the local climate and context, it is the highest performing building in the coldest climate zone in the U.S. Most US office buildings are of similar size and owner-occupied, the lessons learned from the Innovation Center can be replicated to achieve similar success. While the process is replicable, the location is specific with the project taking inspiration from the surrounding Basalt Mountains – sandstone, zinc, white metal, juniper wood reflect the neighboring natural elements to become a building in its rightful place.

Achieving LEED Platinum, Passive House, Living Building Challenge Energy Petal Certification, the building has many sustainability features to tout, becoming the most energy efficient building in one of the coldest climate zones in the US.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review the role of integrated design approaches on energy efficiency, sustainability and durability of modern office buildings.
  • Highlight approaches to occupant comfort and the benefits of passive design solutions.
  • Discuss material resourcing and implications on durability and aesthetics of high performance building design.
  • Explore high performance envelope design, construction and performance benefits.


About AIA Portland COTE:
The Committee on the Environment (COTE) is committed to educating professionals and the public on sustainable design issues and supporting an agenda of various public and private agencies and organizations. Their belief is that design excellence can only be discussed within the context of sustainability.


Rocky Mountain Institute cover image courtesy AIA Portland.


The Center for Architecture
403 NW 11th Ave
Portland, OR 97209 United States
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