• Image courtesy of Tim Griffith

  • Image courtesy of Tim Griffith

Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center

Basalt, CO

Project Categories

Living Buildings + Net-Zero , LEED Platinum, and Commercial + corporate office

Business Type

Headquarters/Commercial office


16,000 square feet

This Net-Zero Energy building is in one of the coldest climates in the lower 48 states. An envelope tuned for passive operation allows the building to operate without cooling systems and very little heating to maintain comfort. Personal comfort systems are included to heat the people, not the space.


ZGF Architects


Rocky Mountain Institute

PAE Role

Mechanical engineering

Electrical engineering

Building analysis and modeling

Technology design

LEED Platinum

Beyond Net-Zero Energy


Percent better energy efficiency

than code requirements


Percent better water efficiency

than code requirements



  • Pursuing Beyond Net-Zero Energy
  • Pursuing Living Building
  • Passive House
  • LEED Platinum

Progress Report

Largest commercial office to achieve Passive House
Pursuing 63% energy efficiency
Pursuing 40% potable water efficiency
Pursuing EUI of 17.2

Special features

  • A 83 kW rooftop PV array and off-site community PV plant will power 90-100% of the building
  • The project team is investigating the potential of providing additional PV-sourced power for employees to commute via electric car, taking the project beyond Net-Zero
  • In a section of the building, the design team is experimenting with a direct-current power system which is theorized to be more efficient than alternating-current power when traveling short distances
  • Rainwater reclamation with onsite pond storage
  • Greywater reuse infrastructure provided for future installation of full system
  • Passive heating and cooling

Media coverage

RMI's 5 Steps to Redefining Thermal Comfort


Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center Opens


A virtual tour of the Rocky Mountain Institute's Innovation Center