Rocky Mountain Institute’s Built Environment Initiatives

The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is an organization that was founded in 1982 by Amory and Hunter Lovins that is “dedicated to research, publication, consulting, and lecturing in the general field of    sustainability, with a special focus on profitable innovations for energy and resource efficiency”. 

RMI has 3 primary focus areas: built environment, energy, and mobility.   RMI recognizes that buildings represent an opportunity to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The institute’s staff provide consultation services to private and public entities to address the design, construction, operation, and deconstruction of the built environment. Rocky Mountain Institute seeks to improve the US commercial building stock through their RetroFit program.

RMI provides a variety of services related to energy-efficient design and analysis for new or existing buildings, ranging from predicted building energy performance (modeling) and specific design recommendations, to life-cycle cost analyses and performance verification.

RMI has developed a “right steps” approach to optimize building performance:

  • Define Needs: Define the need/service required first, not the equipment or capacity needed to provide it;
  • Reduce Loads: Reduce loads on mechanical systems through passive design measures;
  • Appropriate Technology: Select the most appropriate system type/s and design for efficiency;
  • Efficient Technology: Use the most efficient equipment available (most people start here!);
  • Life Cycle Cost Analysis: Incorporate life cycle analysis to inform decision-making process
  • Optimize Operation: Incorporate controls and demand response measures;
  • Seek Synergies: Assess waste streams and other resource areas (i.e. water) for possible use/reuse; and then
  • Green Power: Incorporate renewable energy technologies.

Rocky Mountain Institute is currently involved in a number of built environment projects in the US. You can contact their website,, for more information.

RMI is providing sustainability consultation services for a development project underway just south of Denver that incorporates a number of innovative sustainable practices.  Visit to learn more.

To learn more about RMI’s high performance building initiatives, click on the link below:


About Kim Gideon

I'm an Educator, Public Speaker, and Sustainable Living and Wellness enthusiast who is seeking a more balanced way of living.
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