Rocky Mountain Institute Selects Design Team for New Office Building

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ZGF Architects LLP chosen as lead architect for its commitment to pushing the boundaries of net-zero design

This building will be a physical manifestation of RMI's work and values.
-Marty Pickett

RMI is excited to announce the selection of ZGF Architects LLP as the design architect for the organization’s proposed office building in Basalt, Colorado. As leaders in the sustainable design industry, ZGF’s extensive portfolio demonstrates an inspired approach to green building design that parallels RMI’s vision for a facility that will maximize energy and resource efficiency while creating a structure that complements and strengthens the local community and serves as a demonstration site for the industry.

“RMI is excited to work with ZGF and the incredible design team that has been assembled to realize our vision of a beautiful and innovative building that achieves net-zero energy and explores net-zero carbon impact,” said RMI Executive Director Marty Pickett. “This building will be a physical manifestation of RMI’s work and values. It will further define RMI as a leader in integrative design and high performance buildings while enhancing our mission of energy and resource efficiency.”

As an industry leader in evolving the practice of high-performance building design for decades, ZGF embraced sustainable design as a core value long before “green” or “LEED” became buzzwords. ZGF has addressed net-zero energy, net-zero water, and a locally sourced palette that eliminates toxic materials, going above and beyond what is commonly done (or even thought possible) in the building world.

“We are strongly aligned with RMI’s mission to drive the efficient and restorative use of our resources, and specifically to map and drive the transition to renewable energy,” said Kathy Berg, principal architect at ZGF. “As such we are very energized to work closely with RMI on a ‘beyond state-of-the-art facility,’ and to explore the advanced thinking and project collaboration required to make RMI’s vision a reality.”

In addition to working with RMI’s own team, ZGF will work in alliance with John Breshears of the firm a2 and the local firm Graybeal Architects on the project. Doug Graybeal will help serve as a liaison to the community, reflecting RMI’s desire to ensure that the design and building serve RMI and the Roaring Fork Valley well into the future. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering will be led by PAE, with a goal of few or no mechanical systems, and Peter Rumsey with Integral Group will provide MEP advisory services. Sopris Engineering will lead civil engineering, and KPFF Consulting Engineers will provide structural engineering. DHM will provide landscape architecture. RMI has retained True North Management as its owner’s representative and TG Malloy Consulting as its land use planner.

RMI will select the general contractor in the next few weeks, who will collaborate with the team as part of an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) process. This is an innovative approach that integrates people, systems, and decision-making to incentivize project results, increasing owner value, reducing waste, and maximizing efficiency through all phases of development. The entire process will be planned and documented in detail from start to finish, providing a replicable framework for small to midsize office building design to ensure RMI can help drive this innovative process deeper into the industry.

RMI will be a very involved participant and contributor throughout the project, applying its integrative design principles and technical building analysis to push the boundaries on what is possible using passive building strategies.

“This building will complement RMI’s convening power,” noted RMI’s Chief Scientist Amory Lovins, “and provide an ideal place for deep collaboration with colleagues and industry players, a key component of RMI’s approach to change.”

The proposed building site, adjacent to the Roaring Fork River, is known as the Levinson parcel and is currently owned by the Town of Basalt. The RMI site is located between land purchased by the Roaring Fork Conservancy in 2005 and land purchased by the Roaring Fork Community Development Corporation in 2011 where a multi-use development is planned.

About Rocky Mountain Institute
Rocky Mountain Institute is an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit think-and-do tank. RMI emphasizes integrative design, advanced technologies, and mindful markets in fulfilling its mission to drive the efficient and restorative use of resources. RMI’s strategic focus is to map and drive the U.S. transition from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables by 2050. Visit for more information.

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Kirsten Carlson
Rocky Mountain Institute
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