When the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), an entrepreneurial nonprofit think-and-do tank driving the efficient use of energy and resources, decided to build a new office building, wood was a natural choice. Completed in 2015, RMI’s new Innovation Center in Basalt, Colorado was required to meet ambitious goals: utilize sustainable construction materials while providing a net-zero, adaptable, commercial office building with a 100-year design life in one of the country’s harshest climates.

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm Central

Cost: Free

Both light-frame wood construction and mass timber were chosen for their ability to simplify and reduce structural systems, meet energy efficiency and natural daylight requirements, and utilize locally sourced materials. This case study presentation will examine wood’s role as both structure and finish in this 15,600-sf office building.

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) | Photo credit: ZGF Architecture


Justin Brooks, LEED AP BD+C, ZGF Architects LLP
During his 14 years of professional experience, Justin Brooks has been involved with projects of varied scales and types ranging from laboratories and hospital towers to embassies and ambassadorial residences for the U.S. Department of State. Most recently he was the project designer for Rocky Mountain Institute’s high-performance Innovation Center in Basalt, Colorado. Since graduating from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, Justin has held leadership and mentoring positions including: co-chair of the Young Designers Core of Boston; advisory board member of the Community Design Resource Center; team leader for pro-bono services provided to the Griffin House, a nonprofit women’s rehabilitation center in Boston; and  co-chair of the Young Design Professionals group of ZGF.