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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Redefining Sustainable Design: The New AIA COTE Measures

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) is the oldest U.S. program dedicated to sustainable design. In 1997, COTE introduced its annual Top Ten Awards, “the profession's best known recognition program for sustainable design excellence” (AIA), to celebrate exemplary projects and give the industry guidance on how to integrate green building principles. In 2015, to mark its 25th anniversary, COTE embarked on a landmark research initiative to study the first two decades of Top Ten, published in 2016 as Lessons from the Leading Edge. Part of the research was to revisit the program’s criteria of evaluation, known as the COTE Measures of Sustainable Design. The result of this effort was to overhaul the program with a completely new set of principles and metrics. The 2017 Top Ten Awards are the first year to use new criteria such as economic impact and more robust metrics for health and resilience. In this presentation, three members of the COTE Advisory Group will present the new criteria and engage the audience in a lively discussion about what defines sustainable design.

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Clarifying Product Transparencies - Life Cycle Assessment, Environmental and Health Product Declarations (Print Course)

The best route to a sustainable building is knowing what’s in the materials used to build it, but questions remain among manufacturers and buyers about how to evaluate and compare the environmental profiles of similar building products and materials.

Product transparency reports like Environmental Product Declarations, Health Product Declarations and Declare labels help meet this challenge.

This course will discuss how these tools collectively provide information about the environmental performance and impact of products and offer an objective means of comparing similar products.

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Enabling Innovation through Offsite Construction (Print Course)

Offsite construction can be an entry point for innovation that simplifies onsite assembly, provides cost savings, and offers superior performance.

The sector has already implemented just-in-time job site production, reduced cycle time and inventory, and optimized vendor-managed processes.

Offsite construction will evolve to increasingly integrated assemblies to further reduce site labor and utilize advanced automation. Significant innovation in offsite construction is finally pushing a large portion of the construction process from the jobsite into manufacturing plants.

This course will cover what that innovation is and why the construction industry is ripe for change.

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Light for Satisfaction!

This course dives into lighting as a key factor of wellness. Two current building industry trends - Human Health + Wellness and Transparency – are compelling designers to gain a better understanding of daylighting, the impact of light on our circadian rhythms, and related tools available to designers. The course will explore a few of the building standards that take a deeper dive into lighting as it connects to the human being, as well as technology and strategies that allow designers to better mimic the 24-hour circadian clock within the built environment.

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SPECIFYING HIGH PERFORMING VENTILATION FOR LUXURY KITCHENS

Ventilation is a vitally important factor in the design, construction and operation of luxury kitchens. Without adequate ventilation and an ample supply of clean makeup air, no kitchen will operate efficiently or safely for the occupants.

This course will discuss the different types of ventilation systems available and how to incorporate ventilation without sacrificing design and style. In addition, the course will address importance of ventilation for the space and occupant health.

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The Surfaces that Surround Us While We Heal (Print Course)

The mission of healthcare organizations is to provide patient care that is effective, medically relevant, and operationally efficient in a comfortable, convenient environment where the patient-provider relationship is at the center. Surfaces play a key role in creating a positive tone within healthcare built environments, but surface quality is dependent on proper material selection, durability of design, and material performance. Designers must understand how to specify surfaces in healthcare settings that address disinfection, durability, and design challenges to achieve safety, efficiency, and patient comfort.

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Specifying Luxury Vinyl Flooring in Environmentally Conscious Design

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is an extremely versatile resilient flooring product that is commonly used both residentially and commercially, specifically in educational, healthcare, and corporate settings where long lasting performance is key. This course will explore the performance benefits, design features, and applications for luxury vinyl tile where durability, low maintenance, versatility, sustainability, and affordability are desired or required.

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Quantifying Sustainability for Concrete Construction

Sustainability is a key element in product decision making. This presentation will provide you with information to support decision making for sustainable solutions, an understanding of key elements associated with quantifying sustainability and the need for holistic thinking.

This course covers life cycle thinking for product selection and use, the components for sustainability as a balanced solution, specific elements that quantify sustainable results and the objective for multi-attribute decision making.

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Sound Control in Architecture: Sound Absorption

Sound is primarily controlled through two passive methods: absorption and isolation. This course will focus on sound absorption in architecture and discuss how it is measured.

This course will cover the different types of absorptive materials used today, and help the learner to select a ceiling panel based on the desired acoustical performance of the space.

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