A Case Study at the University of Colorado, Boulder

In pursuit of environmental stewardship and energy efficiency, the University of Colorado, Boulder (UCB) embarked on a new development project at its North Boulder Creek Campus. Through their expertise in building energy modeling and sustainability, Iconergy played a crucial role in guiding the UCB design team’s decision-making process.

Informed Decision-Making for Optimized Energy Efficiency

The goal of Iconergy’s energy modeling analysis was to make informed design decisions using information about energy consumption, carbon emissions, and construction materials for their upcoming development. Moreover, the objectives were to optimize energy efficiency, minimize environmental impact, and incorporate sustainable construction practices. Iconergy was able to provide the necessary metrics to aid UCB’s design process.

Harnessing the Power of Building Energy Modeling

To address this need, Iconergy utilized campus-level energy modeling to compare various design options. Using advanced software like OpenStudio, the team simulated and evaluated different heating and cooling systems. These options included connection to an existing district steam loop, decentralized campus-level heating and cooling, water-source heat pumps, and geo-exchange.

The energy modeling analysis provided valuable insights into each design option’s predicted energy consumption and its associated environmental impact. Equally, this data played a pivotal role in identifying the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly HVAC design for the campus development. On top of that, high-level cost estimates were provided, ensuring a comprehensive financial assessment of each option.

Optimizing Building Orientation and Layout

In addition to HVAC analysis, Iconergy conducted mass modeling evaluations to explore various building orientation and layout schemes. This part of the study focused on passive heating, wind stack effect, and solar heat gain. By comparing the energy savings offered by different design features, the team recommended the most effective layout for the proposed structures.

Embodied Carbon Analysis for Sustainable Construction

To further enhance the project’s sustainability, Iconergy included an embodied carbon analysis. This critical step involved assessing the predicted embodied carbon associated with construction materials commonly used in the industry, namely timber, concrete, and steel. By integrating this analysis with the greenhouse gas emission estimates from HVAC options, a comprehensive environmental analysis of the entire campus project was achieved. This enabled the University to make educated decisions regarding the most sustainable construction materials.

The Iconergy Team Behind the Success

The success of this building energy modeling and sustainability project was a result of the dedication and expertise of the Iconergy team. Led by Grace Butler, the team included Grant Stump, Pete Salmon, and Erik Jeannette, each contributing their skills and knowledge to offer UCB a comprehensive energy model.


The UCB-Iconergy collaboration showcases energy modeling’s effectiveness in environmentally responsible building design and construction. Utilizing innovative approaches and technology, the University confidently moves forward, leveraging data obtained through the energy modeling process. This case study inspires environmental responsibility, encouraging organizations to invest in sustainable planning for a greener future.

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