The Powerhouse Energy Institute (formerly Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory) at Colorado State University is known as one of the nation’s top academic laboratories, one its largest independent energy labs, and as a world leader in developing large-scale solutions to global energy dilemmas. Its home, located in Old Town Fort Collins, is undergoing a physical renaissance. Harnessing the building’s historical legacy as well as its embedded energy and aesthetic beauty, the current expansion-renovation project will focus on how the lab’s environment can serve as the building’s own engine.
One high-profile aspect of the project is the addition of vertical-axis wind turbines inside replicas of the original smokestacks for the coal-fired boilers of the 1930s. The turbines are just one example of how “old-meets-new” in the project.
The finished facility will feature flexible and collaborative spaces, comfortable working environment, a wow factor for visitors, and economical operating costs. The existing building will continue serving researchers and students. The project is pursing LEED Platinum certification and began construction on October 1, 2012.