Smith Building Goes Solar

view from above the smith building showing new solar panels

The Michael Smith Natural Resources Building, administrative home of the Warner College of Natural Resources, has gone solar this spring along with numerous other buildings on main campus.

With the new LEED Certified addition, the College added to its facilities for the first time in several decades and the building has been embraced by the College and campus communities since its opening in August, 2018. At that time, infrastructure was installed to ensure an easy upgrade with solar when the timing was right. And that time has now come.Evening at Smith Building with view from Lory Student Center Plaza

The 425 solar panels that now grace the roof of the Smith Building have a rating of 170kW and will produce an annual kWh output of 246,000 kWh of electricity, according to CSU Energy Engineer, Carol Dollard, who has been part of a team that led the effort to add solar arrays on campus buildings. The solar energy produced will offset over 20 percent of the total energy use of the Smith Building. The building addition also features timed lighting in all its rooms and building occupants are always encouraged to reduce their energy use by turning off equipment when it is not in use, for example.

“This is a wonderful feature to add to our building and a fantastic way for us to participate in a campus-wide program that truly represents our community values for sustainability,” said Dean John Hayes, who led the efforts to build the addition during his tenure as Dean of the Warner College. “The offset to the electrical use in the building will assist with the University and local municipal goals to have 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.”

overhead view of new solar array on Smith Building

The Smith Building array has been part of a much larger, campus-wide effort with partner Namasté Solar and Solaris Energy, which overall, has the potential to nearly double the amount of solar energy on CSU’s Fort Collins Campuses. 20+ different sites on main campus, including the Smith Building, have been a part of this project.