Leading the charge for sustainability

The National Western Center team has created regeneration goals for the project build-out, and Colorado State University is partnering with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to share information and expertise in order to achieve those aspirational goals.

“CSU has a big stake and a big opportunity at NWC,” said Josie Plaut, associate director of the Institute for the Built Environment. “We have a tremendous amount of talent related to sustainability and I can’t think of many better opportunities to apply, showcase, and develop CSU’s research and programs on the subject.”

The project team has set aggressive goals for regeneration, including net zero energy and waste, using “One Water” principles; net-neutral or -positive impact on the South Platte River; creating educational infrastructure, buildings, and exteriors; and promoting health and connection to community:

  • Net Zero Energy building and site design, integrating with water and waste systems
  • Net Zero Waste system design and modeling, integrating with energy and water systems
  • One Water system design, integrating energy, waste, and stormwater
  • Urban Ecology, including connecting and improving nearby urban ecosystems and agriculture
  • River Restoration in urban environments, and education and recreation within the riparian corridor
  • Air Quality, including potential improvements both onsite and in surrounding areas
  • Community Health and impact of the NWC on the wellbeing of surrounding neighborhoods
  • Education by creating experiential opportunities for all ages based on site infrastructure and design

“This scale of work asks us to bridge sectors, make new partnerships, stretch our capabilities, and work across cultures in service of a greater good,” Plaut said. “This is a really big project … I have no doubt that engaging the hearts and minds of CSU will result in better outcomes for the project, and meaningful research and learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff.”