Red Hawk Elementary School celebrates LEED Gold

Red Hawk Elementary School in the St. Vrain Valley School District has earned LEED Gold certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.

The Institute for the Built Environment at CSU coordinated the LEED work on the project. Elliot Dale, a CSU graduate student in construction management and an IBE intern, worked on the project with April Wackerman, IBE projects manager.

Recognized for sustainability

Located at 1500 Telleen Avenue in Erie, the new 74,600 square foot elementary school is recognized for its extremely low energy and water use, outstanding natural daylighting techniques, healthy regional and recycled-content materials, and exceptional integration of sustainable principles into its existing academic curriculum.

The LEED Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED certified schools save money for taxpayers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a healthier environment for students, staff and the larger community. The strict guidelines for acoustical performance, indoor air quality and daylight result in a facility that will have an abundance of clean air and sunlight and will be free of toxic, unhealthy materials.

“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most-important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The work of innovative building projects such as Red Hawk Elementary is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement.”


Showcases green initiatives

This elementary school showcases St. Vrain Valley School District’s commitment to the education, health, and wellbeing of their children, and will be a model of high performance, stewardship, responsibility and respect.

The project team used an integrated design approach to creatively think how each system and design element would positively contribute to the performance of the building. With this approach, Red Hawk Elementary School achieved many sustainable building milestones including 40 percent less potable indoor water use than a typical school building, 73 percent construction waste diversion, 20 percent recycled content of materials, and 20 percent regional material procurement. Most notably, Red Hawk Elementary School achieved a 57 percent energy cost savings compared with typical elementary schools through progressive design features such as a ground source heating and cooling system, a super insulated building envelope, high efficient lighting fixtures, and abundant daylighting in all occupied spaces. Other sustainable features include low emitting and non-toxic materials, paints and finishes, the development of an educational curriculum incorporating the green features of the building for educational purposes, and the adoption of the Green Stars School waste minimization program. Furthermore, a 50kW solar array is planned to be installed on the school property which will offset 60 percent of the total annual electricity used at Red Hawk Elementary.

“Certified green schools such as Red Hawk quickly become models for the community and for other school districts. And, we’ve seen student performance rise, especially when the students and teachers make connections between their curricula and their unique place as Red Hawk has done,” according to Brian Dunbar, director of the Institute for the Built Environment in the College of Applied Human Sciences at CSU.

Project team

Along with CSU’s Institute for the Built Environment, the project team included RB+B Architects Inc., Shaffer Baucom Engineering, Adolfson and Peterson Construction, The Weidt Group, RJ McNutt & Associates, JVA Consulting Engineers, and The Birdsall Group.

Contact: Tracy Kile-Schwartz
Phone: (970) 491-7525