RMI's Innovation Center: First-Year Lessons Learned

The Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI) Innovation Center illustrates the potential of achieving net-positive-energy performance in a replicable manner, serving as a demonstration project for the design and construction industry. Its first year of operation has offered many lessons around technological incorporation, financial replicability and incentivizing an integrated design process.


With four decades of leadership and advocacy for hyper-efficient buildings and economies, RMI is the ultimate client and occupant for such an innovative project. First-hand staff video interviews will address design process, system integration, performance and occupant satisfaction. RMI researchers guide attendees through the building with interactive video technology, providing commentary to frame the experience. Observations will be contextualized by members of the architecture and engineering team, translating lessons that can—and should—be applied to the next generation of high-performance buildings.

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A Model Zoning Code for Resilient Communities

This course will provide learners with an understanding of how land use codes impact resiliency through barriers and incentives. It will help you gain an understanding of the positive impact on health and productivity from codes promoting resiliency, review case studies detailing principals of natural ventilation, daylighting and onsite energy production.

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The Benefits of Specifying Low-e Coatings

This course will discuss the benefits of specifying high-performance architectural glass to improve the energy efficiency of buildings while reducing their operating costs and carbon emissions. An understanding of solar energy spectrum and common glass performance measures, in addition to the manufacturing processes for pyrolytic and magnetron sputter vacuum disposition low e-coating. The course will help learners to differentiate between passive and solar control low-e coatings and different glass performance measures. Finally, the course will analyze how low-e coatings can improve energy efficiency and assist with earning LEED credit contributions.

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A Comparative Analysis of Residential Heating Systems

Builders, contractors, and homeowners today face a myriad of options for home heating systems. Furnaces, heat pumps - both air-source and ground-source, and even hybrid furnace-heat pump combination systems are all options. Sorting out the best choices requires taking a close look at system costs, efficiency levels, energy prices, comfort impacts, the severity of the climate, and any applicable incentives.

This course summarizes the key findings from an extensive technical analysis of the energy, economic, and environmental results of using various heating systems in different locations throughout the U.S., and updates the prior study from 2013 with more current energy pricing, system specs, and modeling data.

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The Environmental Impacts of Building Materials: Comparing Concrete, Steel and Wood (Print Course)

In addition to performance, budget and aesthetics, design professionals are now being asked to evaluate the environmental burdens of their design choices. Measuring the impacts of buildings, assemblies and products can be complex. Every design decision, from material and product selection to envelope design and construction can have an impact on the environment and the methods used to evaluate those decisions are still not widely understood. This article will address critical issues the design professional should consider as he/she evaluates the environmental impacts of building materials to maximize performance and deliver lasting value.

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Simplifying Air and Water Resistive Barriers

Failure of a building’s barrier system can have serious consequences for everyone involved. Choosing a system that is simple to specify, easy to install and has been independently validated to comply with code requirements resolves challenges related to AWRB installation.

This program will cover the various barrier systems, important aspects of the building and energy codes and review the characteristics of a high-performance barrier system.

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Understanding Low-E Coatings

This course will enable you to be able to define the solar energy spectrum and common glass performance measures, discuss the manufacturing processes for pyrolytic and MSVD low-e coatings, identify how passive and solar control low-e coatings differ and impact glass performance measures, and how low-e coatings improve energy efficiency and earn LEED® credit contributions.

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Glass Production, Processing & Performance

Glass Production, Processing & Performance provides an introduction to the different types of glass that are available and how to use them. Significant emphasis is placed on coated glasses, including the common types of low-e application processes and the impacts on energy and environmental performance. In addition, different types of flat glass processing and fabrication methods, as they relate to specifying glass, are also covered.

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Introduction to Net Zero Energy Homes and Opportunities to Leverage High Efficiency Propane Systems

This course provides an overview of residential zero net energy (ZNE) homes and gives designers a sense of key issues and strategies for ZNE projects. It explores how ZNE projects may be defined along with the implications of the different definitions of "zero".

The course also characterizes the current ZNE housing market, the general design approach to ZNEs and the opportunities to integrate mixed-fuel home designs in ZNE projects.

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Home Building Crossroads -- Energy Codes and High Performance (Online Course)

This course offers a discussion on the changes in the 2015 IECC as they relate to the Building Enclosure and on how performance components of insulation, water management, air leakage, and HVAC relate to a whole as the building enclosure.

It will discuss how meeting the new code can be challenging, and help the learner come to understand the opportunities available in meeting these challenges.

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