Our Road to Sustainability: the Pikes Peak Summit Complex

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The new Pikes Peak Summit Complex (altitude: 14,115 feet) is the most sustainable high-altitude structure in the country, if not the world. The building, set to open this summer, was designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. It also strives to achieve the Living Building Challengesm (LBC), which is a two-year certification process for highly sustainable, zero-energy buildings. Currently, no other buildings in the state of Colorado are fully LBC certified.

“Pikes Peak is a National Historic Landmark, and as stewards of the summit’s built environment, it’s critically important for us to think about how the new Summit Complex will affect the environment not only today, but 50 years from now,” said Jack Glavan, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain manager. “Every aspect of the new building has been carefully and thoroughly reviewed with sustainability at the forefront of the entire project.”

There are seven performance areas, or petals, of LBC; elements of which are integrated into the design and operation of the Summit Complex. The petals, which represent the efficiency of a flower – the symbol of an ideal built environment – stand for place, water, energy, health and happiness, materials, equity and beauty. LBC is operated by the International Living Future Institute, a global nonprofit organization. To meet the challenge, the Summit Complex must be regenerative in nature. This means it must be self-sufficient and remain within the resource limits of its site; connect occupants to light, air, nature, community and food; and create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with it.

In an effort to better explain the sustainable aspects of the building, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain has launched a multipart video series called, “Our Road to Sustainability.” The series is available to view on the Pikes Peak YouTube channel. Videos will be gradually released in the run-up to the grand opening of the Summit Visitor Center in June 2021. The series includes commentary from USDA Forest Service representatives; PPAM project managers; architects from RTA Architects of Colorado Springs, who partnered with GWWO Architects on the building’s design; project leaders from GE Johnson, the local project contractor; Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers; and other stakeholders.

Road to Sustainability - Intro

Road to Sustainability - Place

Our Road to Sustainability - Water

Our Road to Sustainability - Energy

Our Road to Sustainability - Health & Happiness

Our Road to Sustainability - Materials