I recall my father’s advice, “Do the best you can with what you have, and if the stars align, you’ll have the opportunity for better.” The staff at Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI’s) office in Boulder, Colorado, had made the most of the space we occupied for the past nine years—a…
Cara’s background in both architecture and engineering has served as the cross disciplinary foundation for her passion of working on strategic energy design and master planning in buildings and portfolios. Cara helped shape the strategic creation and operation of the RetroFit Initiative within RMI. She led the content development and launch of the RetroFit Depot, an online industry resource about deep retrofits – benefits, processes, case studies and tools to prove the economic viability of deep commercial building retrofits. She continues to lead an effort focused on implementing a deep retrofit business model within Energy Service Companies and targeted architectural, engineering and consulting firms. Coupled with her ability to create high-level net zero energy masterplans and deep retrofit value propositions, Cara enjoys working at a tangible, project level to apply integrative design solutions and turn theory into practice on actual projects.
Currently, she is leading RMI’s efforts to design a new, next generation deep green headquarters for RMI in Basalt Colorado. She is applying Integrated Project Delivery and quantifying some of the value beyond energy cost savings the building will provide to create a replicable process and financial model for other small building owners to follow. A few of her other recent projects include Ford’s Green Dealership program, GSA Net Zero Renovation Challenge and working with a global healthcare company to create a net zero energy roadmap for one of their R&D campuses based on the principles of aggressive efficiency and finding the most cost effective balance point between energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy generation.
Prior to joining RMI in 2005, Cara worked at ENSAR Group, a sustainable design consulting firm, providing general sustainable design consulting, energy modeling and analysis, daylight modeling and analysis, charrette development and LEED consulting. She consulted on a variety of projects including K-12 schools, universities and national park facilities, and she assisted with the development of sustainable design guidelines locally and internationally. Cara also managed project data for an in-depth laboratory case study evaluated by the Green Building Tool, an international green building rating system. She has managed the LEED process for over 15 certified projects including the LSR Preserve (which achieved LEED NC v2.1 Platinum), the Hawaii Gateway Energy Center (LEED NC v2.1 Platinum), the University of Denver College of Law (LEED NC v2.1 Gold) and the University of Colorado Memorial Center (LEED EB Silver).
Masters of Civil Engineering, Building Systems Engineering, University of Colorado, 2009
Bachelors of Environmental Design, University of Colorado, 2003